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Garnett continues to state case for MVP

2/16/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- If he keeps playing like he did Sunday, Kevin Garnett just might be holding another MVP trophy at the end of the
season.

Garnett, the MVP of last weekend's All-Star game, had 37 points,
22 rebounds, six assists and five blocks as the Minnesota
Timberwolves tied a franchise record with their 12th consecutive
home victory, 109-102 over the Golden State Warriors.

The Wolves won their sixth consecutive game and 12th in their
last 14, ending the Warriors' three-game road winning streak.

And Garnett continued to build his case for MVP, although he
refuses to lobby for it off the court. He's scored 112 points and
pulled down 59 rebounds in four games since the All-Star break.

"Stats are not what it's about,'' Garnett said. "All that's
important is that we win. I think it's a compliment and a credit to
my hard work. But I don't want to overshadow what this team is
accomplishing.''

Minnesota, which is 22-5 at home this season, had never won 12
in a row at home in one season. Their other 12-game winning streak
spread between the 1997-98 season and the lockout-shortened 1999
season.

"We've got to defend our home court,'' Szczerbiak said. "We
knew we could tie the record and now we're hoping to break it.''

The Wolves travel to Utah and Denver before returning home
Friday to play Detroit. Minnesota has won 16 of its last 20 games,
and on Sunday took command with 62 percent shooting in the third
quarter before holding off a late Warriors charge.

Garnett scored 17 points and Wally Szczerbiak had 11 of his 23
points during the third quarter.

But the Warriors shut down Garnett and Szczerbiak in the fourth
quarter, holding the pair scoreless until Garnett hit two free
throws with 3:03 left in the quarter.

Golden State used a 17-4 run to pull to 102-97 with 2:03 to
play. The Warriors had three possessions over the next minute but
could not close the gap. Garnett iced the game with a 20-footer
with 34.9 seconds remaining.

"The difference was Kevin Garnett,'' Warriors coach Eric
Musselman said.

Gilbert Arenas led Golden State with 31 points.

Warriors forward Antawn Jamison missed most of the second half
after coming down awkwardly on his left ankle. After being helped
off the floor, Jamison played just 4 minutes of the fourth quarter.
He finished with six points.

Musselman said the injury wasn't serious.

After Golden State cut a double-digit deficit to six, Garnett
hit consecutive baskets, then Szczerbiak converted a three-point
play on a fast break to make it 76-63 with 4:56 left in the third
quarter.

Szczerbiak hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, then Garnett
converted a three-point play with 3:17 left to give the Wolves an
84-67 lead.

"Everyone is in a nice rhythm right now,'' Garnett said.
"We're playing aggressively, and we're playing as a team.''

Garnett had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. The
score was tied at 26 early in the second quarter before the Wolves
went on a 27-14 run with eight players scoring.

Game notes
Golden State was attempting to sweep a four-game road trip
for the first time since 1969. The Warriors have not won four in a
row on the road since the 1993-94 season, the last time they made
the playoffs. ... A rare case of offsetting, unrelated technical
fouls came with 3:34 left in the second quarter. The Wolves were
hit with a defensive 3-seconds call, and at the same time, referee
Marc Davis gave a technical to Golden State coach Eric Musselman.
The referees said that because the ball was dead at the time of
Musselman's technical, no free throws would be shot. ... The
Timberwolves held Organ Donor Awareness Day and raised $10,000 for
former team scout and current Marquette assistant coach Trey
Schwab, who suffers from an incurable lung disease called pulmonary
fibrosis. Schwab, who needs a lung transplant, was introduced to
the crowd before the game.