Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/30

Game 1: Monday, December 30th
Game 2: Sunday, February 23rd
Game 3: Sunday, March 9th
Game 4: Saturday, April 5th

Suns 98

(33-29, 22-9 home)

    6:00 PM ET, March 9, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 25 32 25 23105
    PHX 23 37 16 2298

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 29 Pts, 14 Reb, 12 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Phoenix: S. Marbury 28 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    Garnett gets quick triple-double as Wolves top Suns

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Kevin Garnett has had many great nights, but never one quite like this.

    Kevin Garnett
    Small Forward
    Minnesota Timberwolves
    64 23.0 13.2 5.7 .497 .751

    Garnett had his fourth triple-double of the season, including the go-ahead baseline jumper with 1:04 to play, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 on Sunday night.

    ''He does everything,'' coach Flip Saunders said. ''He makes big plays, makes big plays for others and keys a lot of what we do on defense. I think down the stretch he was very much in control.''

    In fact, Garnett had his triple-double after three quarters, and finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.

    ''I'm a winning kind of guy. My teammates know not to come to me with that kind of stuff until the game is well in hand,'' Garnett said. ''But no, I can't ever remember having a triple-double after three quarters.''

    Minnesota had lost the first three games on its road trip, with the final stop Monday night in Dallas.

    ''That's exactly what this was, a must-win,'' Garnett said. ''You can't paint it any other way.''

    All five starters scored in double figures for the Timberwolves, who outscored Phoenix 9-2 over the final 1:04.

    Wally Szczerbiak added 18 points, Anthony Peeler 14, Rasho Nesterovic 13 and Troy Hudson 13. Garnett had a hand in many of those points.

    ''He's a team player,'' Peeler said. ''That's what separates him from everybody else.''

    Stephon Marbury scored 28, but only four in the fourth quarter, for the Suns. Amare Stoudemire added 16 points. Shawn Marion had 10 points and 13 rebounds but made just three of 15 shots.

    The game was tied for the last time at 96 on Penny Hardaway's driving layup with 1:25 to play. Garnett's 13-foot baseline jumper with three seconds left on the shot clock put Minnesota up for good 98-96.

    On the Suns' next possession, Stoudemire was called for a moving screen. Szczerbiak followed with a 3-pointer with 40.1 seconds to go to make it 101-96, and Minnesota sealed it with free throws.

    The Suns had two other late turnovers when Marion, then Hardaway were called for stepping on the out-of-bounds line.

    ''I thought it was a clean, fair screen,'' Stoudemire said. ''We had three calls there that totally turned the game around.''

    Coach Frank Johnson said he'd have to look at the tape to see whether it was a good call.

    ''It doesn't matter what I think,'' Johnson said. ''That's what he called.''

    Marbury, who was trying to break around Stoudemire's screen, wouldn't comment on the offensive foul call.

    ''A couple of calls just didn't go our way,'' Marbury said. ''We played well enough to win that game.''

    Marbury scored eight points and Joe Johnson seven, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a 23-8 second-quarter run that put Phoenix up 56-49 with 1:43 left in the half.

    But Garnett scored nine points in the final 2 minutes of the half to cut the Suns' lead to 60-57 at the break.

    After three quarters, Garnett had 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Timberwolves led 82-76.

    Minnesota went on a 13-2 spurt to take an 80-70 lead on Nesterovic's inside basket off a pass from Garnett with 2:71 left in the third quarter. But Stoudemire scored four, including a tough offensive rebound in traffic, in an 8-0 spurt that gave Phoenix an 88-86 lead on Hardaway's 16-footer with 5:54 to play.

    After that, there were three lead changes and three ties before the Timberwolves pulled away.

    Dan Majerle, one of the most popular players to wear a Suns' uniform, was added to the franchise's 'Ring of Honor' during a halftime ceremony.

    Game notes

    The game was the Suns' third home sellout of the season. ... Among those on hand on to honor Majerle were Ring of Honor members Connie Hawkins, Alvan Adams, Walter Davis and Tom Chambers. ... Stoudemire is on track to become the first player since Garnett to come directly out of high school and average in double-figures scoring in his first NBA season. ... Garnett has come one assist shy of a triple-double six times this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 105 98
    FGM-FGA 37-75 (.493) 37-89 (.416)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 7-17 (.412)
    FTM-FTA 25-29 (.862) 17-22 (.773)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-44 14-41
    Assists 27 19
    Turnovers 15 9
    Steals 3 11
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 0 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 27 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 29
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 12
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 28
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0