Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/8

Game 1: Thursday, November 8th
Game 2: Saturday, December 22nd

Bulls 74

(4-21, 4-7 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    7:30 PM ET, December 22, 2001

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 22 22 21 3095
    CHI 12 23 17 2274

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 14 Pts, 11 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Blk

    Chicago: M. Fizer 25 Pts, 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Garnett's near triple-double dooms Bulls

    CHICAGO (AP) -- This was almost too easy for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Kevin Garnett was an assist shy of a triple-double, and Wally Szczerbiak had 19 points Saturday night as the Timberwolves handed the Chicago Bulls yet another ugly loss, 95-74.

    Kevin Garnett

    "It was basically target practice out there," Szczerbiak said of the Timberwolves, who shot 51 percent from the floor. "When we play unselfishly and space the floor, we get lots of open shots."

    Say this for the Bulls, though. At least it was better than the record 53-point pasting the Timberwolves put on them last month.

    "Our goal was not to not lose by 50 points," said Marcus Fizer, who led the Bulls with a season-high 25 points. "Our goal was to win the game. This one hurts as much as any other."

    Garnett had 14 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high nine assists before he left with 3:13 remaining. Four other Timberwolves also finished in double figures.

    Anthony Peeler had 15, going 3-for-6 from 3-point range, Gary Trent added 13 and Joe Smith and Chauncey Billups each scored 12.

    Fizer was the lone bright spot for the Bulls, who have lost six straight, including three in a row at home. He was 10-for-18 from the floor, but had just two rebounds.

    "His rebounding numbers I know, and I think he knows, have to get better," Bulls coach Tim Floyd said. "Two boards is not what we need from a starting power forward."

    The game was so out of hand that Garnett, Smith, Szczerbiak and Billups all left with just over three minutes left -- even with Garnett the one assist away from the triple-double. Smith gave Garnett a big hug, and the United Center crowd cheered the former Farragut Academy star.

    "As a fan of the Bulls, I'm upset they broke up the dynasty," Garnett said. "As a player, I look forward to coming to the United Center. They give me a lot of love and I give love back."

    Well, the Bulls might not see it that way. Garnett had his 18th double-double of the season, and the Bulls never had any answer for him. His most impressive play of the night? A spectacular pass in the second quarter.

    After grabbing an offensive rebound with 3:16 left in the first half, Garnett stepped away from the basket. Turning his head to the left, he whipped the ball right -- in front and around his body in an arc -- to Billups, who took it in for the easy layup.

    "We have the team organized around a style, not around any one guy or anyone getting so many points or so many shots," Garnett said. "There's no ego on this team. As long as we win and we're all focused on the goal of winning, there's no one complaining."

    Unlike their last meeting, Chicago was still within double digits with 11:10 left. Chandler made a pair of free throws, and Eddy Curry followed with a monster dunk to cut Minnesota's lead to 65-56.

    But Peeler hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Szczerbiak added another 3 to essentially end the game. Minnesota had a 74-57 lead, and the Bulls never got closer.

    "We hung in there for a while," Floyd said. "For at least three quarters, we were within striking distance, eight or 10 points. That was because we guarded. We did not really get it going offensively."

    Especially early, as the Bulls shot less than 24 percent in the first quarter. After Ron Mercer hit a 15-footer to pull Chicago within 14-10 with 5:29 left in the first, Minnesota held the Bulls without a field goal for the next 7:52.

    Garnett, meanwhile, hit a 17-footer to spark a 12-3 run that gave Minnesota a 26-13 lead -- its largest of the half -- with 9:56 left.

    Game notes
    Minnesota outscored the Bulls 38-20 in the paint. The Timberwolves also had a 17-8 advantage in second-chance points. ... In two games against the Bulls, Minnesota had 74 assists. ... Bulls guard Greg Anthony did not play after the first quarter because of a strained Achilles tendon. ... Bulls forward Charles Oakley sat out the game with tendinitis in his right forearm. ... Ron Artest, playing just his second game of the season, had 10 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 74
    FGM-FGA 43-84 (.512) 26-71 (.366)
    3PM-3PA 4-17 (.235) 3-10 (.300)
    FTM-FTA 5-7 (.714) 19-29 (.655)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-45 10-40
    Assists 35 22
    Turnovers 15 18
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 1 4
    Fast Break Points 2 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 14
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Marcus Fizer Fizer
    Points: 25
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0