Trail Blazers 101, Timberwolves 98, OT

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Zach Randolph smiled slyly when reminded that earlier this season Minnesota’s Ricky Davis called the Portland Trail Blazers “roaches.”

“Ricky talks a lot,” Randolph laughed.

Randolph had 22 points, 15 rebounds and two key free throws at the end as the Blazers spoiled Randy Wittman’s first game as Minnesota’s interim head coach with a 101-98 overtime victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Further rubbing it in, Davis missed a jumper with 7.9 second left in overtime that rimmed out.

Davis wasn’t making any more inflammatory statements after the game, but said he did think he had nailed it.

“I’ll take that shot and live or die with it,” Davis said. “It was a great shot but it didn’t go in.”

The loss capped several tumultuous days for the Timberwolves, who have lost five straight. Head coach Dwane Casey was fired Tuesday after 1 1/2 seasons.

“I felt these guys deserved to walk out of the building with a win tonight,” Wittman said.

Jarrett Jack made a driving layup with 28.7 seconds left in overtime to give the Blazers a 97-96 lead. Kevin Garnett answered with a turnaround jumper to give it back to Minnesota.

Blazers rookie Brandon Roy made two free throws with 12.3 seconds left, as Portland again took the lead. Davis’ jumper rimmed out and Randolph hit two free throws with 6.3 seconds left for what would prove to be the winning margin.

Garnett, who missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer, had 31 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves.

Rookie Sergio Rodriguez had 18 points for Portland, which has won four of its last six.

Jamaal Magloire hit one of two foul shots, before Martell Webster scored on a fast-break layup to tie it at 85 with 28.7 seconds to go in regulation.

Davis pounded his chest after he hit a jumper with 11.6 seconds left to pull Minnesota back in front.

Portland rookie LaMarcus Aldridge hit a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds left to tie it again. After a timeout, Trenton Hassell inbounded to Garnett, who missed a jumper from the baseline as the clock ran out.

Davis hit a 3 and Mark Blount had a long jumper to give the Timberwolves a 94-91 lead in overtime, a lead they maintained until Jack’s layup.

“What’s impressive to me now is in close games, we’re making plays,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “Down the stretch and in overtime we went to Brandon a lot and spread the floor, so see if he could make something happen.

“We would normally go to Zach but they were closing up on Zach so we figured Brandon could get into the paint and make some plays.”

Roy, who finished with 13 points, said he was bothered by back spasms the whole game, but insisted on playing.

Following a 106-91 loss to Utah on Monday night, the Timberwolves were 20-20 and in eighth place in the competitive Western Conference. The next day Casey was let go.

“We feel terrible. You’ve got to feel responsible when someone loses his job,” Garnett said. “I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself questions. Now I’ve got to answer those questions and apply them to this new situation.”

Wittman has spent nearly 10 seasons as an assistant in Minnesota during three different stints, including the last 31 games of the 2004-05 season under McHale, who took over after firing longtime coach Flip Saunders.

Wittman was once head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he went 62-102 from 1999-2001.

Portland was coming off a 99-95 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.

The Blazers went up 15-8 early, but Minnesota closed the gap and took a 24-23 lead on Davis’ jumper. The teams traded the lead and stayed close until the half, when Davis’ jumper tied it at 46.

Davis had 16 points in the first half. He was booed often by the fans at the Rose Garden, in response to reports that Davis called the Blazers a “pack of roaches” during a game back in November.

It stayed close in the third quarter, Garnett scored Minnesota’s first 13 points, before Davis made a layup with 2:42 left in the period. Webster made a 3-pointer with 4:59 left in the game and it appeared the Blazers were finally pulling ahead, but Craig Smith hit a running jumper and Garnett added a jumper of his own to make it 78-77 with 3:28 to go.

A pair of free throws from Garnett put Minnesota ahead, 79-78.

“It was a game that needed a lot of heart,” Webster said. “We had that heart down the stretch.”

Notes

The teams split their first two games this season. … Garnett earned his 4,000 career assist in the first quarter. He ranks 82nd on the league’s career list. … Roy was selected by Minnesota with the sixth overall pick in the draft. The Blazers took Randy Foye with the seventh pick, then traded him to the Timberwolves for Roy. Portland also paid Minnesota $1 million in the draft-day deal.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Minnesota
K. Garnett K. Garnett
11-23,  31 Pts
8 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Portland
Z. Randolph Z. Randolph
9-23,  22 Pts
15 Rebs, 1 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jan 24