McCollum leads Trail Blazers over Timberwolves
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) CJ McCollum scored 32 points and the Portland Trail Blazers continued their push for the playoffs with a 112-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
Damian Lillard added 21 points for the Blazers, who have won 10 of their last 13 games. Portland has seven of its last 10 games at home.
The Blazers pulled within a game of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Andrew Wiggins had 20 points for Minnesota, which lost its sixth consecutive game overall and seventh straight on the road. The Timberwolves, who trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half, are six games behind Portland in the West.
Both teams sat most of their starters in the final minutes.
It was the first of three games the Blazers will play against the Timberwolves over the next two weeks. The Blazers will play at Minnesota on April 3, a game that was originally scheduled for March 6 but was postponed because of condensation on the court at the Target Center. It was caused by the ice under the court for a hockey tournament and an ice show.
The teams will return to Portland for another game on April 6.
Portland was coming off a 110-95 victory over the Knicks. The Blazers turn around and visit the Lakers on Sunday night.
Portland built a 23-15 lead in the first quarter and stretched it to 60-46 at the break. McCollum led all scorers with the first half with 21 points, his fourth game against Minnesota with 20-plus points.
Jusuf Nurkic’s layup off a pass from Lillard stretched Portland’s lead to 69-51 in the third quarter. Lillard’s 3-pointer extended it to 94-72 before the quarter was over and Minnesota was never able to mount much of a rally.
Minnesota was coming off a 130-119 overtime loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles the night before.
Timberwolves: The Timberwolves fell 95-89 at the Target Center in the first meeting this season. McCollum had a career-high 43 in that one. … It was Wiggins’ sixth straight game with 20 or more points.
Trail Blazers: One of the loudest cheers of the night came when the final seconds of Oregon’s Elite Eight victory over Kansas was played on the video scoreboard. … Allen Crabbe has at least one 3-pointer in 14 straight games.
Timberwolves: Minnesota plays at Indiana on Tuesday.
Trail Blazers: Portland visits the Lakers at the Staples Center on Sunday night.