MINNEAPOLIS -- In years past, the Portland Trail Blazers would lose a game like this.
Coming off a deflating loss at Utah on Monday that snapped their 13-game winning streak, and facing a struggling opponent on the road they should have beaten, the young Blazers showed a maturity and grit that simply hasn't been there for the past few seasons.
"I'm happy with the way we responded," said Roy, who was drafted by the Timberwolves last season but swapped for Randy Foye and cash on draft night. "The big thing was, we've got to win this next game to show everyone we lost the streak, but we're still a good team and have a lot to play for."
Portland restored its dominance in Rip City in December, going 10-0 at the Rose Garden to improve to 15-3 at home this season.
But coach Nate McMillan said he was curious to see how his group would handle going on the road. The Blazers entered the night just 3-10 away from home, including a 111-101 loss to the Jazz that broke the league's longest winning streak of the season.
"We've got a lot of road games, especially this month," McMillan said. "The challenge to the guys tonight was to try to improve on the road. Continue trying to do what we're doing at home, but also improve our road record and see where that leaves us."
A game in frigid Minneapolis is a nice way to ease into a month in which nine of their first 11 games are away from home.
Al Jefferson had 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are a league-worst 4-27 and off to the worst start in a franchise history that has known plenty of losing.
The simple reason for Minnesota's struggles this season? Jefferson has become a lone wolf. Poor shooting from the perimeter has allowed opposing defenses to collapse on Jefferson in the paint, and Wednesday night was no different as the Timberwolves shot a season-low 35 percent from the field.
"Our fast-break points are killing us right now," Jefferson said of the Wolves' meager six points in transition. "There were a couple shots that just didn't fall for us."
They outscored Portland 40-20 in the paint, committed just nine turnovers and held the Blazers to 39 percent shooting, but only forced four turnovers and missed shot after open shot.
"We couldn't get going offensively to make a shot," coach Randy Wittman said. "We couldn't convert a break. We were just atrocious in our fast break."
Ryan Gomes had 10 points and 10 rebounds, but Roy got much more help from his supporting cast on a night when he was 8-for-21 from the floor.
The sweet-shooting swingman made all five of his shots in the second quarter to help the Blazers take a 10-point lead into halftime.
If the Wolves are looking to find any solace, they need only gaze across the court. They are following a similar rebuilding path that Portland has taken, and the Blazers' moves are already starting to pay off.
While the Wolves jettisoned malcontents Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Troy Hudson and Mike James this offseason, Portland got rid of Zach Randolph in favor of Channing Frye and paid plenty of money to buy out Steve Francis.
Portland won only 21 games in 2005-06 and 32 last season, which ended with the Blazers getting the top pick in the draft and taking Greg Oden.
While Oden will miss the season after having knee surgery, the Blazers have used smart drafting and savvy trades to assemble a gifted young nucleus.
It's a blueprint the Wolves hope to follow. They got two No. 1 picks in the Garnett trade and are putting themselves in position for that No. 1 pick next year.
"They're changing the face of the team and that's kind of what we're doing," Wittman said. "We're evaluating what guys we want to move forward with, where we need help in the draft and in the offseason."
- The start of the game was delayed 35 minutes because of a gap in the floor at midcourt and about 10 feet in on the right wing on one side.
- Jones topped 12 points for the fifth time in six games.
- Wittman said Foye will be evaluated again on Monday.