''They're good,'' said Kevin Garnett, who led Minnesota with 23
points and 10 rebounds. ''I'm not going to sit here and (knock)
them. I'm not going to take that away from them. They were the
better team tonight.''
In winning their fourth straight and moving within a victory of
their best start, the Nets were far better than Minnesota on both
ends of the court.
Not only did New Jersey win, Kidd only had to play 30 minutes,
scoring 10 points and 12 assists.
Jefferson, who was 8-for-13 from the field, and the Nets defense
went a long way in allowing Kidd to rest the entire fourth quarter.
''I knew what I was capable of doing,'' said Jefferson, who
became a starter after Keith Van Horn was traded in the offseason.
''My teammates and coaches knew what I was capable of doing. That's
why they put me in that position. I'm not doing anything amazing.''
That's debatable. Jefferson made a host of highlight-reel plays,
the best being a windmill jam over 7-foot center Rasho Nesterovic
after a second-quarter baseline drive.
''I don't give him too much credit, but when I go home and relax
I'll go 'Phew!''' veteran Nets guard Lucious Harris said. ''You
keep giving him credit, you don't know how big his head will be.''
The emotional Jefferson bumped chests with teammates after the
play, and that seemed to tick off Garnett. They were called for
coincidental technical fouls just before halftime after exchanging
words after Jefferson missed a free throw.
Both players downplayed the technicals, saying they were just
Jefferson scored 17 points in the third quarter, when the Nets
outscored Minnesota 39-22 to take an 83-61 lead.
The high-flying Jefferson hit two spectacular reverse layups and
put an exclamation mark on the big quarter with one-handed windmill
dunk on a fast break.
''He's always been fearless,'' Kidd said. ''I think he is
growing as a player and a person. We expect good things from R.J.''
Garnett didn't have much help with Wally Szczerbiak still
sidelined with a dislocated toe. Troy Hudson and Reggie Slater
added 10 points apiece for the Timberwolves, who were outscored
61-36 combined in the second and third quarters.
The Timberwolves' previous high for turnovers this season was
16. Minnesota had that many in the first half. The turnovers led to
39 New Jersey points.
Minnesota's previous record for turnovers was 28, set most
recently against Sacramento in 1994. ... Nothing went right for the
Timberwolves. Kendall Gill's 3-pointer at the end of the third
quarter was not allowed, and videotape replay confirmed the call
was correct. ... Garbage time allowed Nets backups Anthony Johnson
and Brian Scalabrine to score for the first time this season.
Johnson had nine points. ... The Nets had 15 turnovers.