Timberwolves 94, Trail Blazers 93
Maybe like Garnett is right now.
After LaMarcus Aldridge tipped in a miss by Jarrett Jack to give Portland a 93-92 lead, Garnett took a hurried inbounds pass with 2.2 seconds to go, dribbled once, wheeled and dropped a jumper over four outstretched Portland hands at the other end to give the Wolves the win.
“I really couldn’t see over the hands, so I sorted of faded back a little bit, got it up, and it went in,” Garnett said.
Garnett finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, but the 30-year-old veteran was overshadowed for most of the game by three impressive rookies.
Brandon Roy had 22 points and five rebounds and Aldridge added 13 points and six rebounds for the Blazers, who had won three in a row.
“We are starting to come together,” Roy said. “It is that time of the year when you want your young guys to play well. We are getting a lot of time. We are trying to do the most we can with it.”
Not to be outdone, Wolves rookie Randy Foye scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Wolves.
Portland led 87-82 with 3:17 to play before Foye took over.
He scored eight of Minnesota’s next 10 points, including a fastbreak dunk that gave Minnesota a 92-89 lead with 51 seconds to go.
Roy came right back, hitting a left-handed layup, and Garnett was called for traveling to set up Aldridge’s tip-in that gave the Blazers the lead with 8.4 seconds to play.
But even with Garnett’s big shot, Foye and Roy were the two best players on Sunday.
Considered in June to be the two most NBA-ready players in the 2006-07 rookie class, they will likely be linked for their entire careers after being involved in a three-team trade on draft night.
The Timberwolves initially selected Roy with the sixth overall selection. Boston took Foye with the next pick, then shipped him to Portland for Sebastian Telfair. The deal was completed when Portland sent Foye and cash to the Wolves for Roy, the former Washington Husky.
“It’s going to be a rivalry for a long time,” Wolves forward Craig Smith said. “They’re two great players who won’t back down.”
Roy came out firing on Sunday, hitting five of his first six shots and scoring 12 points to lead the Blazers in the first half.
He showed a little bit of everything against the team that traded him, hitting a couple of running jumpers, a pretty leaner in the lane and a 3-pointer all in the first quarter.
But Ricky Davis played tight defense on him in the fourth quarter. A little too tight in Portland coach Nate McMillan’s eyes.
“I thought the officials allowed a lot of grabbing, a lot of holding, a lot of hand-checking during this game. It came down to that,” McMillan said. “Just a lot of two-hand touching out on the perimeter, which is not allowed.
“I thought our guys tried to fight through it. But it is hard to get a read on what you can do defensively during the course of a game when it is called on one end and not on the other.”
Foye came off the bench and only had four points at the start of the fourth quarter.
But the fourth quarter has been Foye’s time all year long, and Sunday was no different. He made five of his six field goals and scored eight points during a 10-2 run that put the Wolves back in the game.
“When he has it going, I like to put him in positions for him to be totally, totally aggressive in pick and rolls and take advantage of his quickness and his strength,” Garnett said. “He loves to be let off the leash.”
Portland’s Zach Randolph returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games while on bereavement leave. He came off the bench midway through the first quarter and showed little rust, finishing with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Blazers’ longest winning streak this season was five in a row from Dec. 10-20. … Craig Smith had 10 points in 16 minutes for the Wolves. … The Blazers wrap up their four-game road trip with a game at Chicago on Monday night.