Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/4

Game 1: Monday, November 4th
Game 2: Saturday, November 23rd

Nets 96


Timberwolves 82

(7-7, 5-3 home)

    7:00 PM ET, November 23, 2002

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 30 25 24 1796
    MIN 18 22 21 2182

    Top Performers

    NJ: J. Kidd 18 Pts, 4 Reb, 12 Ast, 1 Stl

    Min: K. Garnett 19 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Saunders: 'We pretty much got our butts kicked'

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- On both ends of the floor, the Minnesota Timberwolves were flat from start to finish.

    Kerry Kittles

    Kerry Kittles scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half Saturday night to spark the New Jersey Nets to a 96-82 victory over Minnesota.

    "As I told our guys, it's pretty easy, pretty simple. We pretty much got our butts kicked,'' said Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders. "It's just disappointing.''

    Jason Kidd had 18 points and 12 assists and Richard Jefferson had 14 points and seven rebounds for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who won their second game in as many nights to improve to 10-4.

    With an array of pull-up jumpers and uncontested layups off give-and-go passes, Kittles -- guarded mostly by Anthony Peeler and former teammate Kendall Gill -- had 13 points in the first quarter after totaling 13 in his previous two games.

    But tight defense was just as important for the Nets, who held Minnesota to 37 percent shooting.

    "That's what gets us going,'' Kittles said. "That's where we excel.''

    Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Troy Hudson scored 12 points for Minnesota, which plays seven of its next eight on the road -- where the Wolves are 2-4 this year.

    The Nets weren't quite as sharp as they were in their 120-79 romp over Cleveland the night before, but they didn't need to be.

    Running the motion offense with precision -- the way Minnesota is aiming to in its first year playing it under Saunders -- New Jersey shot 57 percent in the first half and outscored the Wolves 50-36 in the paint.

    "We let 'em get too many layups,'' Hudson said. "We lost focus on guarding our man too much. They get a lot of movement and a lot of back cuts. They run (the offense) to a T. All five guys cutting to the ball and without the ball. That's the point we're trying to get to.''

    That's been very difficult to do so far without a healthy team.

    Point guard Terrell Brandon is out indefinitely, likely for the year, with a knee injury, and so is guard Felipe Lopez.

    Plus, All-Star shooting guard Wally Szczerbiak -- on the injured list with a sprained toe -- has played in only four games.

    "We put it in with the idea of having Wally and Felipe on the perimeter,'' Saunders said. "Right now, (our lineup) is not conducive to (running the motion offense). We've struggled to get the ball inside.''

    It doesn't help when things aren't working on the other end, either. The Wolves tried to play a little zone but bagged it after falling behind early.

    "Defensively, we've got to get back to doing the things we were doing in preseason and training camp,'' Garnett said.

    Kittles keyed a 12-3 run with eight points over the final four-plus minutes of the first quarter as the Nets took a 30-18 lead.

    From there, the Wolves -- looking short on energy and out of rhythm offensively -- never got closer than nine and fell behind by as many as 22, 83-61 after back-to-back jumpers by Lucious Harris to start the fourth period.

    "I saw exactly what I wanted to see,'' said Nets coach Byron Scott. "We played with high energy and were very aggressive on the other end.''

    That's something the Wolves couldn't say about themselves.

    Game notes

    Gill, who spent six seasons in New Jersey, had eight points on 3-for-13 shooting. ... The Nets didn't attempt a free throw until Kenyon Martin made two with 8:17 to go in the second quarter. They finished 6-for-10 at the line. ... Though they play only twice a year, New Jersey won the season series with Minnesota for the first time since 1991-92. ... Scott tied Chuck Daly for third place on the Nets' all-time coaching victory list with 88. ... The two starting centers, Minnesota's Rasho Nesterovic and New Jersey's Dikembe Mutombo, combined to shoot 6-for-19 from the field. ... The Nets won for just the second time in their last nine games at Target Center.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 82
    FGM-FGA 43-85 (.506) 32-86 (.372)
    3PM-3PA 4-10 (.400) 0-6 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 6-10 (.600) 18-25 (.720)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-39 19-50
    Assists 27 19
    Turnovers 12 14
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 8 6
    Fast Break Points 5 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 18
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 12
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 19
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1