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Garnett's 29 and 15 lead rout of Warriors

4/10/2004

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kevin Garnett says that if he's the MVP
favorite, it's only because the Minnesota Timberwolves are enjoying
their best season.

Garnett's teammates think he's got it backward: They're reaching
unprecedented heights because they've got the best player in the
NBA.

Garnett had 29 points and 15 rebounds to keep the Timberwolves
atop the Western Conference with their seventh straight victory,
92-74 over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Sam Cassell added 19 points and seven assists for the
Timberwolves, who pulled away in the fourth quarter with a 14-0 run
led by Garnett. The 6-foot-11 superstar with a guard's skills hit
four jumpers in the rally as Minnesota snapped the Warriors'
seven-game home winning streak.

"They should send the (MVP) trophy right now," Minnesota coach
Flip Saunders said. "Not to take anything away from some of the
other guys, Jermaine O'Neal and those people, but he's just having
a tremendous year."

A day after beating the Kings in Sacramento to take over the
conference lead, Minnesota thrived in another tough road arena by
holding the Warriors to 24 points in the second half.

And if the Timberwolves (56-24) end the best regular season in
franchise history with victories over Utah on Monday and Memphis on
Wednesday, they'll have home-court advantage throughout the
conference playoffs.

"I don't like to look too far ahead, and I don't like to get
too up," Garnett said. "There's always room for improvement, but
right now, we're playing well. Our thing is consistency, and
tonight, we made some beautiful adjustments."

Adonal Foyle had a career-high 20 points and a season-high 16
rebounds for the Warriors, who will miss the playoffs for the 10th
straight season.

Golden State refuses to quit, however. Led by Foyle and Troy
Murphy, who had 20 points, the Warriors had a chance to beat
Minnesota for the third time this season.

But Garnett, who made all six of his shots in the first half,
wouldn't allow it. He seized control in the fourth, hitting
back-to-back jumpers before Cassell made consecutive baskets to
give Minnesota its biggest lead, 86-72. Garnett then added two more
jumpers.

"We took away his turnaround, and we took away the baseline,"
Foyle said. "So he goes to the fade. You can't stop the fade. It's
ridiculous. There's nothing you can do. You try to get Kevin to use
his third option, and then he kills you with the third option."

After playing impressive defense in their victory at Sacramento,
the Timberwolves held Golden State to 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting
in the fourth quarter. The Warriors struggled for open shots and
also missed the ones they got, going 0-for-14 on 3-pointers.

Warriors coach Eric Musselman, whose future has been the topic
of much speculation, praised Minnesota in a brief statement to
reporters. He took one question before retreating to his office in
an unusual display from the affable coach.

"Minnesota is playing at a championship-caliber level,"
Musselman said. "We just couldn't put the ball in deep, and
they're playing like there's high stakes involved."

Wally Szczerbiak and Latrell Sprewell struggled, combining to
miss 17 of their 25 shots. Garnett picked up the slack, going
12-for-15 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.

In his fifth straight start in place of injured Erick Dampier,
Foyle made his strongest case yet for a new contract. Foyle and
Dampier, the longest-tenured Warriors with seven seasons apiece,
both can become free agents this summer.

Foyle, who's missed 34 games with injuries this season, reached
his season high in points early in the second quarter. He hit his
career high on a coast-to-coast drive for a layup early in the
third -- and didn't score again.

Game notes
Mike Dunleavy showed up at Golden State's morning
shoot-around with his hair in cornrows. He removed them before the
game, then scored just four points on 1-for-7 shooting. ... The
Warriors had their seventh sellout crowd of the season. ... The
Warriors were hoping for their first eight-game home winning streak
since 1992.