Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/30

Game 1: Thursday, January 30th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 11th
Game 3: Monday, March 10th
Game 4: Sunday, March 30th

Timberwolves 92

(42-24, 15-19 away)

Mavericks 83

(48-15, 27-6 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, March 10, 2003

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 24 23 18 2792
    DAL 11 22 22 2883

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 31 Pts, 18 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 37 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Garnett scores 31 points, pulls down 18 rebounds

    DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks can handle giving up big games to Kevin Garnett. It's Wally Szczerbiak who keeps beating them.

    Dirk Nowitzki

    Dirk Nowitzki, right, had 37 points and 13 rebounds in a losing cause.

    Szczerbiak followed his buzzer-beating performance a month ago by scoring eight straight points during a tense stretch in the fourth quarter, helping the Minnesota Timberwolves cap a rough road trip with an impressive 92-83 victory Monday night.

    Despite playing their fifth game in seven nights -- all on the road against possible Western Conference playoff teams -- Minnesota held the league's highest-scoring team to its worst point totals after one, two and three quarters.

    And when Dallas did finally get rolling and turned an 18-point deficit into a tie game, Szczerbiak personally prevented the Mavs from getting ahead and the Timberwolves pulled away again. After losing the first three on their tough trip, they head home on a two-game winning streak.

    "When we're aggressive, we can beat anybody," said Garnett, who had 31 points, 18 rebounds and five assists one night after recording a triple-double after three quarters. "These last two games we had to have, and we did everything we had to do to win."

    The Mavericks' slow, steady comeback got going in the fourth when the Timberwolves had trouble scoring. Consecutive 3-pointers by Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley tied the game at 71 with 5:19 left.

    Szczerbiak had protected the lead with a jumper in the lane between Dallas' 3s, then he put Minnesota back ahead with a 3 of his own.

    Finley got Dallas within one with a nice layup off an inbounds pass, but Szczerbiak drilled another 3-pointer and the Timberwolves took off from there.

    "I just remember hitting a bunch of shots at the end," Szczerbiak said, unable to recall the particulars. "I was so focused."

    Dallas, which had won four straight and 10 of 12, took a season-high 103 shots, making a season-low 32 percent. The Mavs missed their first nine field goals and their first 11 3-pointers. They were trailing 12-2 midway through the first quarter and were down 51-33 early in third.

    The only thing that kept Dallas in the game was rebounding, which is usually its biggest weakness. The Mavs had 60 boards, including 30 on the offensive end. Then again, they missed so many shots someone had to grab the loose balls.

    "It was a weird game," said Nowitzki, who had 37 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight 30-point game against Minnesota.

    The Mavericks were playing their third game in four days, but were more rested than the Timberwolves because they had Sunday off and their top players didn't over-exert themselves in a lopsided win over Utah on Saturday night.

    But Dallas had more shots blocked (six) than it made (five) in the first quarter and by halftime had just 33 points. The Mavs had 55 after three quarters, which is what they often score in a half. They finished 29 points below their average.

    "At this point in the season, we should be sharp enough to get a better start," said Dallas' Nick Van Exel.

    Finley overcame a 1-for-12 start to score 17 points and grab 13 rebounds. He finished 7-for-27 and 2-for-11 on 3-pointers.

    "We didn't have any answers," said Steve Nash, who had eight points and nine assists.

    Timberwolves point guard Troy Hudson, who had 31 points in his last game in Dallas, had nine points and 11 assists and Rasho Nesterovic had 11 points and a career-best nine blocks.

    "We have guys with a lot of heart and tonight we banded together and said we weren't going to lose," Szczerbiak said. "We were all helping each other out on defense."

    Game notes
    Each team had just 12 points from its bench ... Gill, who at 6-foot-5 is 13 inches shorter than Shawn Bradley, didn't let that stop him from a huge rejection on the Dallas center. Gill got enough of the ball to slam it into the court, bouncing it at least 10 feet high. ... Szczerbiak got a technical foul for two delay-of-game violations in the third quarter. Both came soon after he was upset a flagrant foul wasn't called when Nowitzki pushed him in the back on an open layup.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 92 83
    FGM-FGA 35-73 (.479) 33-103 (.320)
    3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 5-25 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 18-23 (.783) 12-16 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-41 30-60
    Assists 26 22
    Turnovers 9 10
    Steals 5 5
    Blocks 12 1
    Fast Break Points 5 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/1) 18 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 31
    Reb: 18
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 37
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0