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Gobert's nearly perfect game leads ramshackle Wolves past Portland

All-Star forward Karl-Anthony Towns found foul trouble Monday night at Target Center, so fellow big man Rudy Gobert simply helped him out with a 25-point, 16-rebound, three-blocked shots performance that was everything the Timberwolves needed for a 119-114 victory over Portland.

Included was Gobert's 9-for-10 shooting from the field – many of them dunks of the two-handed variety – and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, too, before he fouled out in the game's final seconds.

It didn't hurt, either, that the Wolves won that free-throw battle, outdoing Portland with a 33-10 disparity in foul shots made.

Or that the Wolves' third big man, Naz Reid, went 4-for-4 on threes in the Wolves' four-game season sweep of the Trail Blazers. The victory also ended a brief two-game home losing streak to Sacramento and the L.A. Clippers.

Gobert punctuated the night with a big blocked shot at one end that point guard Mike Conley turned into a three-point shot and a 115-101 lead with 1:22 left.

The Trail Blazers played shorthanded on Monday, missing injured big man Deandre Ayton, Jerami Grant, Malcolm Brogdon and Toumani Camara, among others.

The Wolves on Monday finished a seven-game homestand – their longest of the season, right before they go on the road for six consecutive game – with a 4-3 record.

That included losses to Milwaukee to start it and to Sacramento and the L.A. Clippers to finish it up before Monday's game. They beat Brooklyn, San Antonio, Memphis and as well as the Trail Blazers.

The Wolves trailed by seven and led by five by midway through the second quarter. They led 55-48 at halftime and 73-60 in the third quarter's first five minute before Portland pulled within three points.

But they stretched their lead back to 88-82 by third quarter's end and 102-87 midway through the fourth quarter with Gobert doing much of the work — and scoring.

Monday's game started inauspiciously when Wolves star Anthony Edwards was late entering the arena before the opening tip and the Wolves received a delay of game warning even before the tip. Reserve Nickell Alexander-Walker started in his place and played the opening seconds before Edwards entered the game.

Edwards didn't score his first field goal until the half's final minute on his way to an 11-point night.

Then Towns committed his third foul 14 seconds into the second quarter and he played just six minutes before halftime while Gobert and Reid played his minutes. Wolves coach Chris Finch went without a small lineup featuring Reid for the first half's final three minutes.

Towns played 21 minutes on Monday.

Monday was third set of home back-to-back games since last month's All-Star break — the Wolves went 3-0 in them.

The Wolves had beaten Portland all three times the teams played before Monday's fourth and final series game.

They won 116-93 at Target Center in January and 121-109 and 128-91 at Portland back-to-back in February.

BOXSCORE: Timberwolves 119, Portland 114

"Their defense is the biggest thing," Billups said before the game. "Their size and length is tough for any team to deal with, outside of Mike Conley, who's a savvy, crafty veteran who stirs the drink. They've got positional size that is just as good as any team in the league. They played together, everyone knows their role. They play through Ant (Edwards) and KAT (Towns) and everyone else just plays off those guys."

Defensively, the Wolves feature three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gobert.

"There's not a lot of groups I say this about, but they seem to enjoy getting stops, enjoy playing defense," Billups said. "It seems like they funnel everything to Rudy and say, `Go ahead, deal with that.' They've got a real good group. It has been fun watching them mature."