Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/21

Game 1: Friday, November 21st
Game 2: Friday, February 6th

Cavaliers 83

(4-9, 4-2 home)

8:00 PM ET, November 21, 2003

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 26 29 20 2297
CLE 21 25 15 2283

Top Performers

Min: L. Sprewell 31 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Cle: L. James 19 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

KG nabs ninth double-double

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kevin Garnett is happy to have Latrell Sprewell around to help him carry the load.

Sam Cassell

Minnesota's Sam Cassell gets a pass off between defenders.

Sprewell scored a season-high 31 points and Garnett added 20, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 97-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Sprewell's 3-pointer -- his fourth -- with 5:47 remaining gave Minnesota a 15-point lead, and the Timberwolves showed poise down the stretch in holding off the inexperienced Cavaliers.

After playing with subpar supporting casts in his first eight seasons, Garnett feels he finally has a running mate in Sprewell, who was acquired in a July trade with New York.

"You all may not like him," Garnett told reporters. "But everybody knows the man can flat out play. Everything I've expected of him coming here, he's exceeded all that. The big thing is his intensity. When he gets it going, we're just that much better."

Sprewell, who shot just 5-for-24 in his past two games, was 11-for-21 with four 3s.

"I've been very streaky lately and I need to be more consistent," Sprewell said. "I was better tonight. Some nights I am on, some nights I am off."

Garnett had no problem with Sprewell shooting himself out of his slump.

"We don't worry about who's taking the shots, what we worry about is who is hitting the shots," Garnett said.

Cleveland rookie LeBron James scored 19 points -- 13 in the fourth quarter -- and added nine rebounds. However, he shot 8-of-19 and played just four minutes of the third quarter because of foul trouble.

"That was tough," James said. "I can't help my team sitting on the bench."

Garnett added 15 rebounds and Fred Hoiberg came off the bench and matched a season-high with 14 points for Minnesota, which only trailed for the game's first 2:18.

Ricky Davis added 13 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a season-high 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which for the second time this season started slowly in a nationally televised game.

"We had no oomph," Cavs coach Paul Silas said. "It seems like we were walking in mud out there. We did not play up to our capabilities. If we play with energy, we can play with anyone."

Trailing by 14 after three quarters, the Cavaliers scored the first six points of the fourth quarter -- the final two coming on a no-look, over-the-head pass by Davis to Chris Mihm underneath for a dunk.

But after coach Flip Saunders called a timeout, Sprewell, who came in averaging 15.7 points, hit a tough jumper from the baseline as Minnesota countered with a 6-0 run.

"We got a little passive there for the first two or three minutes," Saunders said. "We needed to regain our aggressiveness."

The Cavaliers played their second game without forward Carlos Boozer, their leading rebounder, who has a sprained right ankle and isn't expected to be back until next week.

James picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter and spent the final 8:24 of the period on the bench with four personals. Seconds after James went out, center DeSagana Diop was whistled for his fourth foul and also had to sit.

Sprewell hit a 3-pointer, rookie Keith McLeod converted a three-point play and Hoiberg knocked down another 3 as the Timberwolves opened a 75-61 lead after three.

With Boozer out, Minnesota was able to shove its way around in the lane in the first half. On one possession, the Timberwolves got three offensive rebounds before Gary Trent's putback put made it 45-35 late in the first half.

Game notes

The Cavs, who play at Atlanta on Saturday, have lost 28 straight road games, and could threaten the NBA record of 43 set by the Sacramento Kings (1990-92). "That ain't going to happen. If it does, there will be some dead Cavaliers around here," joked Silas. ... The Cavaliers presented British Open champion Ben Curtis, an Ohio native, with a jersey at halftime. ... The Timberwolves have only two players -- Garnett and Gary Trent -- who were on their active roster last season. ... Silas doesn't think today's NBA players get as excited to play on national TV as when he was in the league. "Maybe they play on TV too much," he said. "But when I played we wanted to show the world."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 97 83
FGM-FGA 38-90 (.422) 33-80 (.413)
3PM-3PA 6-13 (.462) 2-8 (.250)
FTM-FTA 15-16 (.938) 15-19 (.789)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-41 15-46
Assists 19 17
Turnovers 8 14
Steals 7 4
Blocks 6 5
Fast Break Points 5 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 21 (0/0)

Top Performers

Latrell Sprewell Sprewell
Points: 31
Reb: 4
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
LeBron James James
Points: 19
Reb: 9
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 0