MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With their offense running quite smoothly
Friday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves worked on their knockout
Outscoring Sacramento by 20 in the third quarter, Minnesota won
its sixth straight game -- 114-94 over the Kings.
"We made a push and kind of grabbed the game by the throat,"
said coach Flip Saunders. "Good teams do that. You start thinking
like a boxer. Feel out where the weaknesses might be and turn up
the heat on them."
Kevin Garnett had 29 points and a team-record 24 rebounds to
lead the Timberwolves. Wally Szczerbiak scored 28 points on
13-for-16 shooting for Minnesota, including 12 in a decisive third
quarter in which the Timberwolves outscored the Kings 34-14.
"That's the mark of a real good team," Szczerbiak said.
Minnesota outrebounded Sacramento 61-35 in a matchup of two of
the top four teams in the Western Conference.
"You get outrebounded like that -- that's the story," said the
Kings' Bobby Jackson. "They get up every time they play us. We
just didn't do the little things that we've done all season."
All of the Timberwolves' wins on their current streak have been
by double-digit margins.
Chris Webber scored 26 points for Sacramento, which lost its
second in a row. The Kings are 2-2 since Webber returned from a
sprained ankle that kept him of Sacramento's first 20 games.
Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento's leading scorer at 22.9 points per
game, did not play because of back spasms. Hedo Turkoglu, subbing
for Stojakovic, had 25 points and Doug Christie added 12.
Szczerbiak had the fans roaring after fast-break dunks on
consecutive possessions midway through the fourth quarter that put
the Timberwolves up 99-83.
Minnesota is 10-1 at home this year.
"We can't ask for a better crowd," Szczerbiak said. "They
were so loud and so excited. I was just feeding off them."
Garnett, who also had eight assists, also played inspired.
"I'm not a stat man, but I did notice that I only had eight
rebounds in each of the last two games," Garnett said. "I wasn't
too happy about it. I was trying to be aggressive, being active and
trying to get my hands on every ball."
Said Webber, a close friend of Garnett's: "I don't know what he
is taking before the games, but he's got a lot of energy. He's a
good friend of mine. In one way it's good to see someone do so
well, but he always does well against us -- and I get tired of
Terrell Brandon had 14 points and 12 assists for Minnesota.
Sacramento went on a 16-2 spurt to finish the first period after
Rasho Nesterovic's tip-in put Minnesota up 21-19 with 4:42 left in
the quarter. The Wolves went 5:15 without a field goal after
Nesterovic's basket and didn't lead again until a pair of free
throws by Garnett put them ahead 65-64 with 8:25 remaining in the
Nesterovic put Minnesota ahead for good, 70-68, with a layup
with 5:53 left in the third. The Timberwolves improved to 15-0 when
leading after three quarters.
Minnesota coach Flip Saunders drew a technical for protesting
one of a string of three questionable foul calls against his team.
After a steal by Gary Trent, Szczerbiak grabbed the loose ball and
was swarmed by two defenders but was whistled for a foul, prompting
an angry protest from the crowd and Saunders.
Adelman said Stojakovic had been bothered by the back
spasms for the past three games. "It tightened up on him,"
Adelman said. "Basically, he's day-to-day." ... Webber made a
spectacular assist late in the second quarter, whipping a
behind-the-back pass to Christie -- who caught the ball in traffic
on a back-door cut to the basket and completed a reverse layup to
put the Kings up 55-48. ... The Timberwolves have won 27 of their
last 32 at Target Center, where Sacramento has lost eight straight.
... Garnett also had Minnesota's old single-game rebound record,
23, set at Orlando on Dec. 27, 1999.