Gobert's nearly perfect game boosts out-of-synch Wolves past Portland

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

Included was Gobert's 9-for-10 shooting from the field — many of them attacking the rim with two-handed dunks — 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 28-8 disparity in foul shots made.

Or that the Wolves' third big man, Naz Reid, went 4-for-4 on threes as the Wolves capped a 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 minute, 22 seconds left.

The only shot he missed all night was a floater late in the game.

"I thought it was going in, but it went out," Gobert said. "It's all right."

Afterward, he was asked if he needed to do more when Towns went to the bench 14 seconds into the second quarter.

"No, I don't feel I have to do more," Gobert said. "I just have to be myself regardless if KAT is there or not. But obviously, sometimes if one of us is not there, we're going to get opportunities."

The Wolves finished a seven-game homestand — their longest of the season, right before they hit the road for six consecutive games — with a 4-3 record.

That included losses to Milwaukee to start it and to the Kings and the Clippers before beating the Trail Blazers. They defeated Brooklyn, San Antonio and Memphis as well.

BOXSCORE: Timberwolves 119, Portland 114

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"We just had to come out and do what we preach," Gobert said. "Try to be aggressive defensively and offensively share the ball and try to run a little more. The last few games, we didn't helped ourselves. Tonight, we did a much better job."

The Kings and Clippers beat the Wolves 38-0 in transition points the past two games. On Monday, the Wolves' disadvantage was only 15-7, which Wolves coach Chris Finch called improvement, if only a little.

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

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 minutes before Portland pulled to within three points.

But the Wolves 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.

He also got them out running with two outlet passes that helped those transition numbers a bit.

"We got out ahead," Finch said. "We didn't set the world on fire. We only had seven fast-break points. But we played a lot faster at times."

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 Nickeil Alexander-Walker started in his place and played the opening 35 seconds before Edwards entered the game. The Wolves received a delay of game violation.

"I don't know what that was," Finch said. "You'll have to ask him."

Edwards usually does some last-minute warmups before he enters the arena. He said he lost track of the time.

"Sixth Man of the Year," he said of his sudden, new bench role.

Edwards didn't score his first field goal until the half's final minute on his way to a 13-point night.