Crabbe catches fire in the fourth as Blazers stun Timberwolves to tighten grip on West 8th seed
Allen Crabbe exploded for 25 points, including 10 in a pivotal fourth quarter rally. AP

ALLEN Crabbe sizzled in the fourth quarter to lead Portland’s late-game rally that stunned the Minnesota Timberwolves, 105-98, at the Moda Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

Crabbe exploded off the Blazers bench for 25 points, hitting 8-of-10 from three-point territory, to help Portland close in on the last playoff berth in the Western Conference with its come-from-behind win over Minnesota.

The Blazers erased a 15-point deficit after a 17-2 run in the third with Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns on the bench due to early foul trouble. Minnesota regained control after Towns came back before Portland went on a scorching start in fourth.

Crabbe scored 10 points, on three triples including a four-point play in 47 seconds, to spark a 12-2 run for their first taste of lead, 92-89, with 8:25 to go.

The Portland defense also held Minnesota without a field goal for more than eight minutes until Andrew Wiggins hit a pullup jumper to get the Timberwolves within five, 99-94, at the 2:40 mark. But the Blazers held them scoreless again until Towns and Ricky Rubio made garbage time buckets with Portland comfortably ahead.

Damian Lillard added 22 points, while CJ McCollum had 18 markers to help the Blazers (39-40) snap a two-game skid and hold a 1.5 game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the 8th seed in the West.

Wiggins led all scorers with 36 points, while Towns and Rubio scored 24 and 19, respectively, for the Timberwolves (31-47).

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