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Nurkic scores 19, Trail Blazers defeat Timberwolves 111-81

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Life is good for the Portland Trail Blazers 10 games into the season.

Jusuf Nurkic had 19 points and 12 rebounds and led the Trail Blazers to a 111-81 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

to improve to 7-3 on the season.

''When everything go well, it go well,'' Nurkic said after the win pushed the Blazers to 7-3. ''We came ready after back-to-back and a bad loss.''

Blazers star guard Damian Lillard said the team's start likely has surprised some.

''To be sitting where we are now, I'm sure people didn't expect it,'' Lillard said. ''I think we're playing good basketball. We've been pretty consistent with the things that we need to do to win games and it's showing.''

Meyers Leonard had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Following a game Saturday in which their bench struggled against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Trail Blazers' reserves bounced back Sunday and outscored the Wolves subs 44-23.

''I was happy for Meyers,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of his reserve big man. ''Got a little chant going, that was fun. I thought in the first half he played very well.''

Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 23 points for Minnesota. It was his fourth straight game scoring 20 points or more. But scoring was not the issue for the Wolves on Sunday, as the Blazers got plenty of points at the free-throw line.

''Defensively, the penetration really hurt us,'' Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Portland, the league's best free-throw shooting team, took advantage of its free-throw attempts in the first two quarters for a 61-45 halftime lead. In the game, the Trail Blazers shot 28 for 32 from the line.

The Blazers continued the onslaught in the third quarter, pushing their lead to as many as 28 points.

For the second straight game, the Blazers struggled from beyond the arc (7 for 28), but it didn't matter against the Wolves.

The timeout helped as Minnesota stormed back, even taking a brief two-point lead on a 3-pointer from rookie guard Josh Okogie.

Portland, however, took control of the game on the strength of their subs.

Towns already had his knees wrapped up before the 4th quarter even started, knowing his night was over.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: In each of last three seasons, Portland's CJ McCollum has averaged over 20 points per game. But despite a league-wide scoring boom, McCollum has actually seen his scoring average drop to 19 points. While McCollum is sacrificing some individual glory, the Blazers have a 7-3 record and entered Sunday with the third-ranked offense in the NBA.

''I think obviously having Evan (Turner) out there with them, playing more minutes with Damian (Lillard) affects how much the ball is in his hands. His numbers are probably down a little bit but not significantly,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of the adjustment for McCollum. ''The emphasis this year was, again, passing and incorporating the team more and less off the dribble. That's how we are playing right now. I think everybody was on the same page. Not just talking to him but to everybody.''

Timberwolves: Disgruntled Wolves forward Jimmy Butler sat out of Sunday night's game in Portland, due to what the team deemed ''precautionary rest.''

Butler did not play in the Wolves game Wednesday, but did play Friday at Golden State

Thibodeau did confirm to reporters before the game that Butler was with the team, clearly trying to downplay Butler's absence in light of the star forward's trade request.

The Wolves were also without point guard Derrick Rose on Sunday, who was a late-scratch after being deemed a game-time decision by his coach.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: Home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Timberwolves: On the road against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

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Key Players
K. Towns
32 C
D. Lillard
0 PG
34.0 Min. Per Game 34.0
29.2 Pts. Per Game 29.2
5.8 Ast. Per Game 5.8
5.0 Reb. Per Game 5.0
44.2 Field Goal % 47.8
43.4 Three Point % 48.3
89.6 Free Throw % 93.8
  Defensive rebound by Gary Trent Jr. 0:09
  Keita Bates-Diop missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:11
  Defensive rebound by Keita Bates-Diop 0:19
  Luol Deng missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:37
  Defensive rebound by Luol Deng 0:43
  Gary Trent Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:46
+ 3 Jared Terrell made 3-pt. jump shot 1:01
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 1:10
+ 2 Keita Bates-Diop made layup, assist by C.J. Williams 1:34
  Lost ball turnover on Gary Trent Jr., stolen by Jared Terrell 1:38
  Defensive rebound by Caleb Swanigan 1:52
Team Stats
Points 81 111
Field Goals 29-93 (31.2%) 38-86 (44.2%)
3-Pointers 7-30 (23.3%) 7-28 (25.0%)
Free Throws 16-21 (76.2%) 28-32 (87.5%)
Total Rebounds 48 73
Offensive 13 17
Defensive 25 49
Team 10 7
Assists 18 15
Steals 9 7
Blocks 4 1
Turnovers 11 16
Fouls 21 20
Technicals 0 2
23 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
18 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST
1234T
away team logo Timberwolves 4-6 2718191781
home team logo Trail Blazers 7-3 30313119111
Team Stats
away team logo Timberwolves 4-6 112.6 PPG 45.1 RPG 24.5 APG
home team logo Trail Blazers 7-3 113.9 PPG 47.7 RPG 22.8 APG
Key Players
K. Towns C 24.6 PPG 12.2 RPG 3.3 APG 52.3 FG%
J. Nurkic C 15.4 PPG 10.4 RPG 3.3 APG 50.5 FG%
Top Scorers
K. Towns C 23 PTS 5 REB 3 AST
J. Nurkic C 19 PTS 12 REB 2 AST
31.2 FG% 44.2
23.3 3PT FG% 25.0
76.2 FT% 87.5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Towns 23 5 3 7/13 2/4 7/8 3 25 0 0 1 0 5 -16 33
A. Wiggins 17 1 1 6/16 2/4 3/4 2 30 3 0 1 0 1 -29 22
T. Gibson 8 8 2 3/10 0/1 2/2 2 22 2 1 2 5 3 -19 21
J. Okogie 6 3 1 2/8 1/3 1/2 3 29 0 0 0 1 2 -19 11
T. Jones 4 1 4 2/9 0/1 0/0 2 26 1 0 1 0 1 -20 13
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Towns 23 5 3 7/13 2/4 7/8 3 25 0 0 1 0 5 -16 33
A. Wiggins 17 1 1 6/16 2/4 3/4 2 30 3 0 1 0 1 -29 22
T. Gibson 8 8 2 3/10 0/1 2/2 2 22 2 1 2 5 3 -19 21
J. Okogie 6 3 1 2/8 1/3 1/2 3 29 0 0 0 1 2 -19 11
T. Jones 4 1 4 2/9 0/1 0/0 2 26 1 0 1 0 1 -20 13
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
A. Tolliver 5 4 2 2/6 1/5 0/0 1 19 0 0 2 2 2 -14 11
K. Bates-Diop 4 2 0 2/7 0/4 0/0 1 12 0 1 0 0 2 -2 7
J. Terrell 4 1 1 1/8 1/2 1/2 2 21 2 1 2 0 1 -10 8
C. Williams 4 1 3 2/7 0/3 0/0 3 23 0 0 0 0 1 -10 11
J. Nunnally 3 0 0 1/2 0/1 1/1 0 6 1 0 1 0 0 +3 3
G. Dieng 2 7 1 1/5 0/1 0/0 2 15 0 1 0 3 4 -16 12
L. Deng 1 5 0 0/2 0/1 1/2 0 7 0 0 1 2 3 +2 5
D. Rose - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Butler - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Teague - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Patton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 81 38 18 29/93 7/30 16/21 21 235 9 4 11 13 25 -150 157
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Nurkic 19 12 2 8/11 0/1 3/4 2 22 0 1 3 5 7 +22 33
D. Lillard 18 5 5 6/16 1/4 5/6 0 28 1 0 0 0 5 +19 34
C. McCollum 16 3 1 7/14 1/4 1/1 0 28 2 0 2 1 2 +19 21
J. Layman 8 6 0 4/8 0/2 0/0 3 24 1 0 1 3 3 +8 14
A. Aminu 6 6 0 2/4 1/1 1/1 4 23 1 0 1 2 4 +7 12
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Nurkic 19 12 2 8/11 0/1 3/4 2 22 0 1 3 5 7 +22 33
D. Lillard 18 5 5 6/16 1/4 5/6 0 28 1 0 0 0 5 +19 34
C. McCollum 16 3 1 7/14 1/4 1/1 0 28 2 0 2 1 2 +19 21
J. Layman 8 6 0 4/8 0/2 0/0 3 24 1 0 1 3 3 +8 14
A. Aminu 6 6 0 2/4 1/1 1/1 4 23 1 0 1 2 4 +7 12
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
M. Leonard 15 12 2 3/7 1/4 8/8 2 21 1 0 1 4 8 +16 31
Z. Collins 11 2 0 2/5 1/2 6/6 3 18 0 0 2 0 2 +18 11
E. Turner 8 5 2 3/7 0/2 2/4 3 22 0 0 2 0 5 +23 15
N. Stauskas 5 4 0 1/4 1/3 2/2 0 9 1 0 1 1 3 +12 9
S. Curry 3 3 1 1/3 1/2 0/0 1 15 0 0 0 0 3 +14 8
G. Trent Jr. 2 2 0 1/4 0/1 0/0 0 7 0 0 1 0 2 -2 3
C. Swanigan 0 5 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 9 0 0 1 1 4 -3 4
W. Baldwin IV 0 1 2 0/2 0/1 0/0 1 9 0 0 1 0 1 -3 4
M. Harkless - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Simons - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 111 66 15 38/86 7/28 28/32 20 235 7 1 16 17 49 +150 199