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Garnett, Szczerbiak score 26 to scorch Heat

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves won a home game
against a struggling team, and saw it as a sign of growth.

Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak scored 26 points apiece
Tuesday night as Minnesota moved 20 games over .500 with a 108-91
victory over the lottery-bound Miami Heat.

"It's just maturity," Szczerbiak said. "We've lost some in
years past like this. It just shows how far we've come."

The Timberwolves are 20 games over .500 (46-26) for the first
time since March 5, 2002, when they were 40-20. Szczerbiak made 10
of 13 shots and Garnett went 10-for-15.

"These are games that are always scary, when you play against a
team that's not going to be in the playoffs but yet they come out
and play hard and do some things," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders
said.

Garnett added eight rebounds and eight assists, ending his
franchise-best streak of 19 straight double-doubles. He leads the
NBA with 60 double-doubles this season.

Miami has allowed at least 96 points in each of its last five
games.

"We've absolutely lost any kind of defensive intensity," coach
Pat Riley said. "We're not focused. We're not paying attention to
detail."

Marc Jackson had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota,
fighting Portland for the fourth spot and home-court advantage in
the first round of the playoffs. The Wolves have won four straight
after beginning March with a 3-5 record.

"In the last couple of days our guys who've been coming off the
bench have played well," Saunders said. "They've actually beaten
the starters in practice and in scrimmages. When you have some
times in practice like that, you do gain confidence in those
guys."

Caron Butler scored 21 points and Anthony Carter had a
career-high 15 assists for Miami, which has lost 10 of 12.

The Wolves started slow but took control by the middle of the
first quarter and never relinquished it.

Minnesota missed its first six shots, and the Heat scored seven
of the game's first eight points. But Szczerbiak scored 10 points
and the Wolves went 7-for-10 in a 20-4 run that gave them a 21-14
lead.

"The key is you have to come out and grab it from the
beginning," Troy Hudson said. "I think we did that. We kept our
composure."

Jackson scored six points to key a 13-5 run at the start of the
second quarter, giving the Wolves a 43-28 lead -- their biggest of
the half. But the Heat got seven points from Eddie House in the
last six minutes of the half and closed to 56-46 at halftime.

Minnesota opened the second half by quickly running the
advantage to 15. Szczerbiak scored four points in an eight-point
run late in the period that pushed the lead to 87-68.

Szczerbiak opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and a
layup, running the lead to 92-70.

Game notes
Timberwolves guard Rod Strickland missed his second
straight game after aggravating the groin injury that cost him 24
games in February and early March. Strickland returned to the
lineup March 18 and aggravated the injury that night. ...
Minnesota's Rasho Nesterovic sat out his fourth straight game with
a sprained right ankle. He is expected to return later this week.
... The Heat have had 10 players miss games due to injury this
season and used 15 different starting lineups.

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