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Garnett adds stifling defense to triple-double

11/2/2002

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Garnett recorded his seventh career triple-double and shut down Tracy McGrady at the same time.

Garnett had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Minnesota Timberwolves handed the Orlando Magic their first loss of the season, 111-105 Friday night.

Guarded mostly by Garnett, McGrady struggled with his shooting
touch all night. McGrady, who scored 31 and 24 points in Orlando's
first two games -- wins over Philadelphia and Miami -- went 6-for-15
for 18 points, 14 in the second half.

"That's the best I've ever been defended,'' McGrady said. "Ever.''

Garnett's long 7-foot frame forced Orlando's leading scorer to alter his shots several times.

"It was great team defense,'' Garnett said. "I just tried to keep a hand in his face. I knew he was going to hit some shots.''

But while McGrady struggled, Grant Hill picked up the slack. He went 17-for-17 from the free throw line and had 27 points to lead the Magic.

"I think Grant turned the corner,'' Magic coach Doc Rivers said. "This was a dilemma game when we fell behind. I wanted to pull him out and rest him. But we kept chipping away. I almost pulled him out six different times.''

Troy Hudson scored 19 points for Minnesota.

The Wolves led by as many as 26 points but allowed the Magic back into the game in the second half. Minnesota, which blew a 25-point lead in its season opener against Denver, was outscored 34-22 in the third quarter.

Hudson said the Wolves started to wear down as the game winded down and the Magic picked up the tempo.

"We started to make lackadaisical cuts. We're not pushing the ball as much, you know,'' he said. "That's the reason for us getting out to big leads. We have a lot of energy at the beginning. You see the second half of both of the games we've played, we start walking the ball up the court.''

Darrell Armstrong added 21 points for Orlando.

Hill was awarded two points on a goaltending call at 3:33 to pull Orlando to 103-96. After an offensive foul on Kendall Gill, Armstrong hit one of two at the line, but Loren Woods, who scored a career-high 18 points, answered with an 8-foot jumper.

Hill sank two more free throws, but Garnett made two of his own
on the other end after a foul by McGrady. Hill missed his next shot
and Woods' dunk with 42.1 seconds left sealed the win.

Minnesota's Anthony Peeler added 16 points starting his second
game in place of Wally Szczerbiak, who signed a six-year $63
million contract extension Thursday night.

Peeler did his best to make up for his absent teammate, scoring all of his points in the first half, including eight straight on a layup and a pair of 3s to make it 61-36.

Minnesota jumped out to an early lead with an 18-0 run fueled by
eight points from Hudson. Hudson, who played for the Magic last
season before coming to Minnesota as a free agent, scored 15 points
in the first half.

Minnesota led 66-42 at the half.

"When you dig a hole like that, it's hard to win games,''
Rivers said.

Game notes
Hill's fell one free throw short of a career-high. ...
Garnett's last triple-double came Feb. 8, 2001. ... Magic F Horace
Grant sat out with a sore left knee. Rivers had no timetable for
his return. ... Minnesota played the first of six straight games
against teams from the Eastern Conference. ... Orlando didn't
record its first rebound until 3:45 of the first quarter. ... Gill
had a clear layup off a steal in the first quarter but lost the
ball on the way up. ... Woods started his second game in place of
Joe Smith (groin).groin