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Roy, Trail Blazers sink Timberwolves

Mar 12, 2008 - 4:01 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Brandon Roy kept the Portland Trail Blazers' flickering playoff hopes alive.

Roy scored 27 points, including nine in the final six minutes, to rally Portland to a 103-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

"I know physically I was tired this morning." said Roy, referring to Monday night's loss at Cleveland. "(Tonight) I made shots, but I think the biggest thing is that I try to be aggressive and play hard. Because I can't make every shot go in but I can play hard. I think if guys see that they'll do the same thing."

LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and Timberwolves killer James Jones contributed 13 for the Trail Blazers (34-31), who moved within 6 1/2 games of the Golden State Warriors (39-23) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota used a 6-0 run to take an 88-83 lead with just under seven minutes remaining. After Timberwolves center Al Jefferson buried a jumper for a 90-85 lead, Roy went to work, giving Portland the lead for good at 93-92 on a floater with 2:20 to play.

Jefferson, who scored 12 points in the final quarter, praised the Trail Blazers for their execution down the stretch.

"They ran their plays till the end, ran their plays real well at the end of the game and they deserved the win," Jefferson said. "They had to work for it and they got it so my hat's go off to them."

Jones then supplied the dagger with a 3-pointer to build a five-point lead with 1:20 remaining. In three games against Minnesota this season, Jones is averaging 13.6 points - nearly five better than his season mark - and has hit 8-of-16 3-pointers.

Roy also had nine assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot for Portland, which has won all three meetings with the Timberwolves this season.

"He kind of willed this game, and he made plays down the stretch," said Blazers coach Nate McMillan of Roy. "You saw that burst from him in the fourth quarter, getting to the basket or getting to the free-throw line. That's what we need."

Jefferson finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds - his 46th double-double of the season - but it was not enough to hold off the Trail Blazers.

"I think Jefferson is one of the best low-post players we have in the league," McMillan said. "He's a power player in that paint."

Minnesota got a nice boost from its bench as Rashad McCants and Craig Smith combined for 33 points on 15-of-21 shooting, but it wasn't enough to earn the team its first three-game winning streak since 2007.

"Yeah, it's tough." Smith said. "It's just a learning step right now and we're just trying to build on that. Hopefully before the season ends we can get it."

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