Portland got the win in Summer League Tournament action, but lost a key contributor in the process.
Malcolm Thomas had 15 points, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, Noah Vonleh had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers toppled the Minnesota Timberwolves, 82-77 Wednesday night in Las Vegas, but lost Allen Crabbe to a second quarter ankle injury.
The Blazers kicked off the first quarter with a balanced assault, with seven players tallying in the period, led by Crabbe's six. Tim Frazier added five, Arnett Moultrie and Malcolm Thomas had four, and Portland used a pass heavy swing offense to take an early seven point lead. On the other end, Karl-Anthony Towns and C.J. Williams contributed 16 points, but the rest of the Timberwolves were 1-for-10 for three points. Portland led by seven after one.
Quick scoring by Thomas and Vonleh helped the Blazers expand their lead to ten in the second quarter. Minnesota rallied to within four behind Towns, but Moultrie snapped their run with three straight buckets. He would finish the half with ten points and two steals with strong defense against Towns. Vonleh had five in the period, and Portland led by six at the half.
Scary moment late in the second quarter as Crabbe injured his left ankle during a battle under the rim. He was unable to leave under his own power and did not return. X-rays on his leg were negative, and he was diagnosed with a sprain.
Without Crabbe, the Portland offense stalled early in the third quarter. Vonleh and Frazier did what they could, but turnovers continued to plague the team, especially Frazier. Towns and Lorenzo Brown gave Minnesota a lead with a 17-8 run, but Vonleh, Pat Connaughton, and Andre Dawkins gave the Blazers the lead right back. Dawkins and Vonleh both finished with six in the period, and Portland took a four point lead into the final ten minutes.
Portland defense locked down Minnesota for much of the fourth quarter, stopping them from scoring for the first three and a half minutes. Vonleh, Frazier, and Thomas continued their run, and the Blazers seized a double-digit lead. Towns was held in check, and Portland secured the win.
Connaughton had just five points, but five rebounds and four steals. Frazier had 14 points and 6 assists, but 6 turnovers.
1) Pat Connaughton did not light up the scoring chart (2-of-5), but was a super pesky defender with four steals and constant effort plays.
2) Malcolm Thomas is now 11-of-12 over his last two games, and proved why he led his team in shot blocking in college at San Diego State.
3) Noah Vonleh showed incredible explosiveness getting to the rim on multiple occasions.
1) Tim Frazier committed six turnovers, four of which were careless dribbles where he lost the handle on the ball.
2) Luis Montero was ugly from the field (1-of-6) and found himself beaten several times defensively.
3) You never want to see an injury in these games, but to happen to Crabbe of all players really hurts. Most of these players are not going to contribute in the regular season, but Crabbe was needed for bench depth.
The Blazers play the Boston Celtics again, this time in the Summer League Tournament. Tip off is Thursday Night at 7:30pm, televised on Comcast SportsNet Northwest.