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T-Wolves' streak ends; Raptors lose 17th of 18

3/20/2002

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves ended their
season-high seven-game losing streak at the expense of the reeling
Toronto Raptors.

The Timberwolves ended their slide and kept the Raptors in a
miserable slump, getting 20 points from Kevin Garnett in a 112-80
victory Tuesday night.

Toronto, which has won just one game since Feb. 7, lost for the
17th time in 18 tries and had its most lopsided defeat of the
season.

Sorry, Raptors, but Minnesota has no sympathy. The Wolves hadn't
won since March 2 at Utah.

"We didn't care who we played," said Wally Szczerbiak, one of
seven Timberwolves to score in double digits. "We were just
worrying about ourselves."

Morris Peterson had 19 points and Keon Clark had 18 for the
Raptors, who were 29-21 and in prime position for the playoffs
before their slide. They've fallen to 11th place in the East.

Vince Carter, slowed by a strained left quadriceps, has had
enough.

"I just want to be 75 percent better -- I probably can't be 100
percent better," said Carter, who had 10 points. "I want to help
this team so bad. I'm disappointed and frustrated about a lot of
things right now. I just have to breathe and hope it gets better.
Soon. In the very near future. Like tomorrow."

Veteran Robert Pack, signed to a 10-day contract Monday as a
backup to Chauncey Billups, had 12 points and five assists in his
first game with the Timberwolves -- and his first of the season.

"For a guy to be sitting around for five months, Robert did a
heck of a job," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. "He gives
us a different dimension, to get the ball to the basket."

Pack, who finished last season with Denver, gave Szczerbiak an
assist on his first possession and hit a long jumper the next trip
up the floor. He even took the liberty a couple times to tell
teammates they were in the wrong spots.

"That's my job," Pack said. "I need to know where guys need
to be. It's nice to be back doing what I've been doing for 10
years."

The Raptors collapsed in the third period. They shot 3-for-18
and were outscored 24-10 -- the second-lowest scoring quarter in
their seven-year history.

"We've all got to look in the mirror," Peterson said. "You
have to see what you can do yourself before you question anybody
else."

Antonio Davis put up an airball midway through the period, and
Billups hit a 3-pointer on the other end to extend Minnesota's lead
to 12. Later, Peterson hit Carter in the back with a poorly timed
pass.

"First half wasn't that bad," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens
said. "The third quarter, all of a sudden, the execution wasn't
very good and there was no talking on defense. Once it started to
get away from us, our confidence went way down."

Minnesota led 79-60 entering the fourth quarter, and eventually
went ahead by as many as 34.

Garnett, who was 3-for-14 from the field Sunday against Utah,
didn't score until making a turnaround jumper with 5:41 left in the
second period. He finished with 10 points in the first half.

Rasho Nesterovic had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota.

"No question, we're a good basketball team," Saunders said.
"We were just playing bad. Hopefully we can build off this."

Game notes
Pack has played for six teams, including Dallas, Denver,
New Jersey, Portland and Washington. ... Billups, who became the
starter when Terrell Brandon had season-ending knee surgery last
month, was playing with bruises on both thighs and didn't look at
full strength, finishing with 11 points and eight assists. He also
got a deep cut above his right eye in the third quarter. ... The
Raptors are 0-6 in Minnesota.