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PORTLAND, ORE. – Given the late start time for the game, if viewers fell asleep or turned off Thursday night's 128-91 Timberwolves victory over the Trail Blazers after the first quarter, they might not think much happened between then and the final buzzer.

The Wolves won the first by 30, and it seemed like all was well in the final game before the All-Star break. But they were hardly able to coast. They lost focus and let the Blazers back in the game over the next 18 minutes of game action.

After Portland cut the lead to eight at 73-65 with 6 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Anthony Edwards put his foot down and refused to let this night join a string of calamitous losses over the last few weeks.

Edwards scored 15 points between that moment and the end of the quarter. He finished with 34 points as the Wolves (39-16) won their last four games before the break, all on the road, and now hold a 1½ game lead over Oklahoma City for first place in the Western Conference.

"We was in the bonus, so [I was] just getting to the rim," Edwards said. "They fouled me and I go to the line. It's pretty much that simple. I actually took advantage of being in the bonus early in the quarter. So, y'all see it went well. I try to do that more."

Edwards was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the quarter, but his ability to get to the rim led to a few layups and a dunk. It also freed room to operate for Karl-Anthony Towns, who had nine points in the decisive third on his way to 23 points overall.

"I just think it speaks to us being able to re-establish a focus in our standards in the middle of a game and get back to work," Towns said of the Wolves' third quarter. "So, obviously disappointed we couldn't keep those standards up in the second quarter."

About that. Portland cut its 30-point deficit after one quarter in half by halftime. The Wolves could not have asked for a better start to the night, a statement which was almost as factually true as it was figuratively.

BOXSCORE: Wolves 128, Portland 91

NBA standings

Only one other time in franchise history did they have a better first quarter than Thursday.

The Wolves opened up a 44-14 lead, and the 30-point margin was the second largest positive point differential they've had in a single quarter in franchise history. The only better quarter was a 31-point lead after a first quarter on Feb. 7, 2001 against the Kings. It was also the best point differential after a first quarter in the NBA this season.

"We were open about it this morning in shootaround, open about it in the pregame – it had all the makings of a trap game for us," coach Chris Finch said. "Playing an opponent for the second time. Break on the horizon. We said one of the keys to the game was focus on a great start and they were awesome on both sides of the ball."

Then for the next 12 minutes they weren't, and they started messing with the game as Portland won the second 37-22. To encapsulate how the level of seriousness decreased, Edwards was banking in free throws during the second quarter and Towns tried an unfortunate behind the head pass while being double teamed in the corner.

"At that point you're fighting human nature a lot of times," coach Chris Finch said. "I think you see it on the offensive end — the ball was really moving, we were passing up wide open shots, and then trying to drive into crowds."

It didn't get better right away in the third, as Portland, led by Jerami Grant's 20 points, kept chipping away. Then the Wolves, and Edwards in particular, woke up. The Wolves went on a 26-10 bust to close the quarter and turn it into a comfortable victory.

That led to a happy postgame locker room. For some, like Edwards, Finch and Towns, a trip to Indianapolis at the All-Star Game awaits. For others, sandy beaches await, and for still others some needed downtime at home is on the horizon.

"I'm really glad I get almost a week [off]," said Rudy Gobert, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds. "So I'm gonna get a lot of sun and recharge, clear my mind a little bit."

The Wolves were the last game playing in the league before the All-Star break. The other 28 teams were done either earlier in the evening or earlier in the week. A postgame road locker room has rarely cleared out as quickly as the Wolves' did on Thursday. But everyone was happy, like students ready for spring break.

"I want them to enjoy it, to recognize what we've done so far and why we've been successful," Finch said. "And then I want them to come back laser focused."