Lillard Has 31 and Blazers Beat Timberwolves 123-114
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 31 points a day after getting his third All-Star nod and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-114 on Wednesday night.
CJ McCollum added 28 points in Portland's seventh straight win at home, longest streak of the season. Lillard made six 3-pointers and the Blazers had 17 3s in the game, one shy of their season high.
Andrew Wiggins had 24 points for the Timberwolves, who had won seven of their last nine games but trailed by 19 points during the fourth quarter.
Lillard was named as an All-Star reserve Tuesday. He spoke to reporters before the game about making the team after being snubbed in past years.
"It's not my first All-Star game. But I did have to make this one happen. Everybody knows that the last two years I felt like I should have made it and I didn't. But I just had to keep on playing, stay with it and stay positive," he said.
Minnesota didn't have Jimmy Butler, who missed a third straight game with a sore right knee. Jamal Crawford returned after missing two games with a strained big toe on his left foot.
The Timberwolves were coming off a 126-118 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday night. Wiggins scored a season-high 40 points in the win that snapped a four-game road skid.
The Trail Blazers lost 104-101 in Denver on Tuesday, snapping a three-game winning streak.
Minnesota led by eight points early, but Lillard's 3-pointer got the Blazers within 27-25 late in the opening quarter. Portland finally caught up with the Timberwolves at the end of the half, pulling into a 54-all tie after Al-Farouq Aminu's 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Lillard.
Lillard and Aminu each hit 3-pointers to push Portland's lead to 63-60. Aminu's dunk extended it to 76-68 midway through the third quarter. Lillard's two 3s put the Blazers up 88-74.
The Timberwolves won the first two meetings of this season's series, both at home.
Timberwolves: With a 3-pointer and free throw in the second quarter, Crawford added to his career four-point play total with 52, an ongoing NBA record. ... Minnesota's Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns were also named reserves.
Trail Blazers: Portland has won 11 of its last 12 games against the Timberwolves at the Moda Center. ... Jusuf Nurkic sustained a left elbow contusion but returned. ... Lillard was also the Western Conference player of the week.
WHAT RUSS SAID: Lillard also addressed Russell Westbrook's comment Tuesday night that players are "Talking about getting snubbed until they get in." Some thought the comments were directed at Lillard.
"Because he's played against me, he's played against our team, he knows what I've accomplished," Lillard said. "Not just this year, but over my career. So it was a little bit disappointing, but I know that I earned my spot this year."
The Timberwolves were playing the first of a back-to-back, they head south to play the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.
The Trail Blazers visit the Mavericks on Friday night.