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Szczerbiak, Garnett help T-Wolves edge Suns

2/24/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Wally Szczerbiak scored a season-high 30
points and Kevin Garnett added 24 points, 15 rebounds and six
assists as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Phoenix Suns
99-97 Sunday.

Trailing 97-82 with 5:41 left, Phoenix went on a 15-2 run to
give themselves a chance to win. But Casey Jacobsen's 3-point
attempt with 4.9 seconds left went off the rim.

Rasho Nesterovic added 22 points and nine rebounds for
Minnesota, which has won three straight overall and a
franchise-best 14 straight at home. Szczerbiak also had eight
assists for the Wolves, who have won 19 of their last 24 games.

Stephon Marbury had 32 points and 10 assists for Phoenix, which
has lost three straight and five of six since the All-Star break.
Shawn Marion had 19 points and 11 rebounds while rookie Amare
Stoudemire had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Minnesota opened the second half on a 14-9 run to take its
biggest lead of the game, 76-61 with 4:44 remaining. But, the Suns'
bench brought them back by scoring 11 points in the quarter.
Phoenix closed within 81-77 despite missing 5-of-6 free throws in the third.

Five different Wolves scored a basket to start the fourth
quarter as Minnesota extended its lead to 97-82 with 5:41 left.

On March 11, 1999, Marbury left Minnesota by forcing a trade
that landed him in New Jersey. Since then, the relationship between
he and Garnett has been acrimonious, with each taking shots at the
other through the media.

On Sunday, they shook hands before the game.

Minnesota got out to a 32-23 lead behind Garnett's 13
first-quarter points. Marbury, who was booed every time he touched
the ball, scored 12 points in the quarter on 6-of-9 shooting.

The Timberwolves extended the lead to 39-25 with 9:42 left in
the second when Szczerbiak made a technical foul shot. But, Marion
followed with the first of his three 3-pointers in the quarter as
the Suns got within 62-52 by halftime.

Szczerbiak finished the first half with 20 points, Garnett had
18 and Marbury scored 16.

Phoenix coach Frank Johnson was ejected in the fourth quarter
for arguing with officials. He received a technical with 9:42 left
in the second quarter and another one with 6:20 left in the game.

Game notes
Garnett had his league-leading 45th double-double. ...
Since the start of the 2000-2001 season the Wolves are 83-28 (74.8
percent) at home. ... Minnesota travels to Milwaukee on Monday to
play the Bucks in Gary Payton's home debut with his new team. ...
Phoenix fell to 18-12 against teams with a winning record. ... The
Suns have been down by at least 10 points in 35 of their 56 games
this year. ... Reserve center Jake Voskuhl received a technical
foul for arguing in the third quarter. ... The Suns are 2-9 in last
11 road games.