Basketball: Timberwolves coast to fifth successive NBA win, beating Blazers who lose third straight

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins battle for a rebound during the second half of their NBA match at Target Center in Minneapolis on Jan 14.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins battle for a rebound during the second half of their NBA match at Target Center in Minneapolis on Jan 14.PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

(REUTERS) Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for 66 points, as the Minnesota Timberwolves breezed to a 120-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night at the Target Centre.

Butler scored 24 points, Teague 22 and Towns 20. Butler had five rebounds and four assists, Towns grabbed 11 rebounds and Teague dished out eight assists for the Timberwolves, who shot .544 on the way to their fifth straight win.

Damian Lillard scored 21 points and C.J. McCollum and Pat Connaughton added 18 apiece for the Trail Blazers, who lost their third straight game as they finished a four-game road trip 1-3.

The Timberwolves enjoyed a big advantage at the free-throw line, sinking 27 of 33 attempts to only 14 of 17 for the Blazers.

Minnesota outscored Portland 26-10 in the second quarter to take a 57-43 lead into the half. Teague and Gibson each scored 10 points for the Timberwolves.

The Wolves extended their advantage to 79-55 midway through the third quarter. Connaughton led a Portland rally, scoring eight points in a 16-3 run that trimmed the margin to 82-71 late in the quarter. Minnesota increased its edge to 91-74 heading into the final period.

The lead was 112-88 with seven minutes to go. The Blazers got no closer than 17 points the rest of the way.

The Blazers led 33-31 after one quarter and were ahead 35-31 when Minnesota went on a 14-0 run to go ahead 45-35. The Timberwolves extended the margin to 57-41 late in the second quarter.

In the last meeting between the teams, Butler scored 37 points, including a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left, to give the Wolves a 108-107 win on Dec 18.