Rudy Gobert leads Timberwolves to 119-114 win over Trail Blazers, 4-3 home stand

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks the ball against Duop Reath #26 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter at Target Center on March 04, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Trail Blazers 119-114.  ((Photo by David Berding/Getty Images))

To put it in the words of Chris Finch, Monday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers was one the Minnesota Timberwolves had to have.

It was their fifth game in seven nights, and the end of a seven-game home stand that featured three back-to-backs. The start wasn’t pretty, but Rudy Gobert made sure the Timberwolves went home with a 119-114 win over the Trail Blazers at Target Center. Minnesota is back atop the Western Conference at 43-19, 23-8 on its home court and 20-5 against below .500 teams this season.

"We needed a win to finish the home stand. It wasn’t quite the home stand that we wanted, but we finished with a win. Now it’s a 20-game sprint, go on the road and get some focus. A lot of big games coming up. We absolutely had to have this one, so credit to the guys. They got it done," Finch said.

The Timberwolves finished the home stand 4-3, and those three losses were by a combined 10 points. Gobert had 25 points and 16 rebounds Monday night, shooting 9-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.

"Just trying come out and do what we could. Last few games I felt like I wasn’t being aggressive enough. Tonight I tried to be aggressive and be more decisive, and also be patient," Gobert said.

"Rudy was super locked in today. When we were slipping, he was the guy who brought us together. That’s what we need out of him," point guard Mike Conley Jr. said.

"I think Rudy has been tremendous all season. Doing things that the average fan won’t pick up on, doing small things that don’t show up in the box score. He’s just doing a great job," forward Kyle Anderson said.

Conley added 19 points and seven assists as the Timberwolves had six players in double figures. Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 points and four rebounds, and Anthony Edwards had 13 points, four rebounds and six assists, off the bench. You read that correctly. With other starters on the floor ready for the opening tip, Edwards was still back in the locker room and had lost track of time. Finch had no choice but to put Nickeil Alexander-Walker on the floor in his place.

Anfernee Simons led Portland with 34 points.

The Timberwolves aren’t without their warts, but they got a win they had to have and now start a 20-game sprint to end the regular season. 

Minnesota starts a six-game road trip at the Indiana Pacers Thursday night. The Timberwolves are not back at Target Center until March 19 against the Denver Nuggets.

It's exactly what Finch said post game, a 20-game race to the finish. Right now, the top four teams in the West – Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Denver and the L.A. Clippers, are separated by three games. Every win the Timberwolves get the rest of the season is critical.

"It was super important. Regardless of how the first three-and-a-half quarters went or however the game went, we got the dub. Having some kind of positive atmosphere going into Indy, Cleveland and the West Coast is big," Conley said.