Carmelo Anthony, Blazers fend off spirited Wolves
Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his team-high 26 points in an early fourth-quarter run that allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to rally past the host Minnesota Timberwolves 125-121 on Saturday night in the opener of a two-game set.
The Northwest Division clubs will meet again Sunday night, also at Minnesota.
Down most of the way, the Timberwolves rallied to as much as a four-point lead early in the fourth period, the final time at 99-95 after a Naz Reid layup.
That’s when Anthony took over. His 15-footer with 9:46 left cut the Portland deficit in half, and his first 3-pointer of the sequence drew the Trail Blazers even at 101-all at the 8:38 mark.
"I'm still here, I'm still playing, I'm still going, I'm still enjoying the game, I'm still happy.. that's all that matters."@carmeloanthony after passing Hakeem Olajuwon for 11th on the all-time scoring list in the @trailblazers win. pic.twitter.com/aUAtyAIP99
— NBA (@NBA) March 14, 2021
Rodney Hood then put Portland on top for good on two free throws with 7:48 to go, after which Anthony connected from deep again, making it a five-point game.
A 3-pointer by Anfernee Simons pushed the Portland advantage to 109-103 with 6:44 remaining. The Timberwolves never caught up, thanks in large part to two key late hoops by Damian Lillard.
Anthony’s 26 were his second-most this season. He put up a season-high 29 against Charlotte on March 1.
Lillard nearly matched his teammate with 25 points while also completing a double-double with a game-high 10 assists for Portland, which was coming off a home loss to Phoenix on Thursday.
Enes Kanter also had a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while Gary Trent Jr. added 14 points and Derrick Jones Jr. 11 for the Trail Blazers, who improved to 2-0 against Minnesota this season.
Karl-Anthony Towns had a game-high 34 points to go with a team-high 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had snapped a nine-game losing streak with a win at New Orleans on Thursday.
Anthony Edwards went for 21 points, Jaylen Nowell 17, Reid 11 and Juan Hernangomez 10 for Minnesota. Ricky Rubio also had 10 points to complement a team-high eight assists.
After trailing by as many as 13 in the first half and 12 in the third quarter, the Timberwolves chipped away, eventually catching and passing the visitors on a 3-pointer by Jaden McDaniels that put Minnesota up 94-93 with 4.6 seconds left in the third period.
Nowell opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that put the Timberwolves up four, but Portland soon thereafter regained the lead for good thanks to Anthony’s surge.
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