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The Journal Gazette

  • Minnesota Timberwolves' Jose Barea (11) and Kevin Love, right, defend a drive by Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. At left is Timberwolves' Dante Cunningham. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Saturday, November 24, 2012 12:44 am

Matthews helps Blazers top Timberwolves 103-95

The Associated Press

Wesley Matthews scored 30 points, rookie Damian Lillard had a career-high 28 points and eight assists and the Portland Trail Blazers beat Minnesota 103-95 on Friday night to send the Timberwolves to their fourth straight loss.

J.J. Hickson returned from a shoulder injury and had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Portland, which has won four of its last five games. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 13 despite missing stretches of the game due to foul trouble. Matthews made five of the Blazers' 11 3s.

Kevin Love had 24 points and 13 rebounds in his second game back for Minnesota, which is 1-5 after winning three of its first four this season. Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Luke Ridnour added 14 points.

Portland put together a 13-0 run that started at the end of the third quarter and carried over into the fourth, resulting in an 88-78 lead. Matthews' 3-pointer with 6:16 remaining extended the advantage to 95-84.

The first matchup of the season between the teams was highly anticipated on several fronts.

It was supposed to mark a Portland homecoming for former Blazers star Brandon Roy, who came out of retirement to join the Wolves this season but is out after having knee surgery Monday.

Love is still popular in Portland, where he grew up and attended high school. And Minnesota general manager David Kahn, coach Rick Adelman and much of Adelman's staff have strong ties to the city.

Kahn signed Portland's Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet in the offseason, forcing the Blazers to match the four-year, $44 million contract to keep the fifth-year Frenchman. Batum finished with nine points and five assists, shooting just 3 of 10 from the field.

Love made his season debut in a 101-94 loss against Denver on Wednesday, coming back early after breaking his right hand doing pushups Oct. 18. He had 34 points and 14 rebounds against the Nuggets.

Portland had won three straight before it lost 114-87 at Phoenix on Wednesday night. The Blazers committed 22 turnovers in what was arguably the team's worst performance of the season. They had just 12 turnovers on Friday.

Minnesota led 41-28 after starting off the second quarter with an 8-0 run and carried a 55-50 advantage into the break. But Portland pulled ahead 71-69 late in the third quarter.

NOTES: Former NBA star Gary Payton and professional wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper were in attendance. . Minnesota had lost 16 in a row to the Blazers before taking two of three in the series last season. . Love is averaging 30.3 points in his last four games against Portland. . The Blazers won't be back at the Rose Garden for 15 days. Portland plays its next seven games on the road, all against Eastern Conference teams.