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
"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
"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
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
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.
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."