Minnesota breaks out of four-game slump with big win

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- They call Ricky Davis "Get Buckets."

He finally got some on Tuesday night, and not a moment too soon
for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis broke out of a shooting slump with 27 points to help the
Timberwolves snap a four-game losing streak with a 101-89 victory
over the banged-up Portland Trail Blazers.

"'Get Buckets," Wolves guard Mike James said plainly.
"That's his nickname. That's what we need him to do."

Davis entered the night shooting just 32 percent during the
losing streak, but made 11 of 18 shots Tuesday. Kevin Garnett added
20 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks for the
Wolves, who led by as many as 26 points.

Davis said his recent shooting struggles did nothing to deter

"I'm a veteran," Davis said. "I see the light. I'm going to
come out of it."

Zach Randolph had 26 points and nine rebounds for Portland,
which couldn't duplicate its amazing comeback against New Orleans
on Friday. The Blazers trailed the Hornets by 27 points in that
one, but stormed back to win 92-91.

Rookie Craig Smith's free throw gave the Timberwolves a 69-43
lead with 5:30 to play in the third quarter, but the Blazers
responded with a 13-2 run.

Juan Dixon, who scored 15 points, capped the spurt with a
3-pointer to cut the deficit to 14, but Portland never got closer
than nine the rest of the way.

"We keep putting ourselves in too deep of a hole," Randolph
said. "I don't know if it's lack of focus or what it is. But it's
not fun."

After the Wolves were thoroughly outplayed in the first half of
Saturday's home loss to Orlando, coach Dwane Casey made getting off
to a fast start the biggest priority.

The Timberwolves obliged.

They led 14-1 just 4½ minutes into the game and Davis scored 10
points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first period.

"He came in early this morning and got 200 shots off," Casey
said. "That's what you have to do. If you're a golfer, you hit
golf balls. If you're a basketball player in a shooting slump, you
come out and shoot. Hopefully he has that stroke back."

Davis had some extra incentive in this one. The Wolves led the
Blazers by 16 points in Portland on Nov. 4 when he trash-talked the
Blazers team, which jump-started a comeback that led to an 88-86
Minnesota loss.

But the Blazers missed their first nine shots and shot just 17
percent in the first period, which ended when Dan Dickau threw a
backcourt inbounds pass right to Marko Jaric that he converted for
a layup and a 30-11 lead just before the buzzer.

"You can't expect a miracle down the stretch," Portland coach
Nate McMillan said. "The way we've started games lately, that's
what we've needed."

Portland learned earlier in the day that forward Darius Miles
will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. The Blazers
also played without Joel Przybilla, Raef LaFrentz and rookie
Brandon Roy.

Were it not for Randolph, one of only three players in the
league averaging at least 25 points and 10 rebounds, Portland would
have been totally lost.

Randolph scored 18 of the Blazers' 34 points in the first half,
but his teammates were a combined 5-for-25 from the floor as
Portland fell behind 52-34.

"We looked young and inexperienced tonight," McMillan said.
"That's going to show sometimes because that's what we are. But I
like the fight in us."

Game notes
Wolves F Mark Madsen was activated for the first time this
season and received a hearty ovation when he entered the game in
the first quarter. ... Blazers rookie PG Sergio Rodriguez had eight
assists in 12 minutes, all in the fourth quarter.


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