Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/12

Game 1: Friday, December 12th
Game 2: Friday, April 2nd

Wizards 91

(7-15, 3-6 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 12, 2003

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 39 18 25 28110
    WSH 23 30 22 1691

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 23 Pts, 16 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    WSH: C. Laettner 14 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast

    Minnesota hits 17 of first 22 shots

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- When an early 19-point lead evaporated, the Minnesota Timberwolves turned to their potent inside game.

    Sam Cassell scored 25 points, Kevin Garnett had 23 points and 16 rebounds and the Timberwolves made 17 of their first 22 shots in a 110-91 victory Friday night over the Washington Wizards.

    "We haven't had a blowout in a while. ... What's important is that we're playing well, playing together," Garnett said. "Continuity is coming together. Chemistry is being formed."

    It was the fourth straight road victory for Minnesota, which got 21 points from Latrell Sprewell and a season-high 16 from Gary Trent.

    "It's tougher to win on the road, so maybe you have a little bit better concentration," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "When we do get back home, we have to take care of things. We'll start playing better at home."

    The Timberwolves, who outscored the Wizards 50-34 in the paint, have beaten Washington five straight times.

    Larry Hughes led the Wizards with 16 and Christian Laettner added 14. Washington has dropped three straight and seven of eight.

    Gilbert Arenas, whose average of 20.8 points led the Wizards before he suffered a severely strained abdominal muscle Nov. 25, was activated from the injured list before the game. He finished with nine points.

    "It was a little bit sore out there, especially after I sat down," admitted Arenas. "I couldn't do everything I wanted to do."

    Washington got within 84-81 on Laettner's basket early in the fourth quarter before the Timberwolves pulled away with a 14-2 run.

    "We kept it a two-possession, three-possession game," Hughes said. "After that, we didn't make shots, they got a couple of easy layups and we tried to scramble the game up a little bit, but it worked against us."

    Minnesota scored 39 points in the first 12 minutes for its most productive quarter of the season. The Timberwolves hit 12 straight from the field during a 15-of-16 stretch in their opening-period binge.

    "It was almost too good," Saunders said. "We were relying too much on the perimeter."

    The Timberwolves let an early 19-point lead slip away before going ahead 57-53 at halftime.

    "We could have been more intense and into it, a little more aggressive defensively," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "But they were pushing the ball."

    Minnesota turned two rebounds by Garnett into consecutive baskets by Sprewell and Cassell for a 67-61 lead with 7:05 left in the third. Consecutive layups by Trent made it 78-68 with 2:44 to go in the period.

    Game notes

    Timberwolves C Michael Olowokandi underwent right knee surgery Friday in Vail, Colo., and will miss 6-to-8 weeks. ... To make room on the roster for Arenas, Washington placed G Mitchell Butler on the injured list with right knee tendinitis. ... Minnesota F Mark Madsen missed the game with back spasms. ... G Trent Hassell had season highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 110 91
    FGM-FGA 47-84 (.560) 35-85 (.412)
    3PM-3PA 1-7 (.143) 7-20 (.350)
    FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 14-18 (.778)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-41 14-40
    Assists 23 23
    Turnovers 11 14
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 4 3
    Fast Break Points 10 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 23
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2
    Christian Laettner Laettner
    Points: 14
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0