<
>

Kings no longer perfect at home

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- When the clock malfunctioned in the
final three minutes of a two-point game in a hostile environment
forcing the time to be kept at Sacramento's scorer's table, the
Minnesota Timberwolves feared the worst.

"There's 2:52 in the game and all the sudden the clock breaks
down?" Minnesota point guard Sam Cassell said with a smile. "It
must be a conspiracy going on here."

But the Timberwolves didn't stop when the clock did, getting 11
straight points from Cassell and Kevin Garnett on their way to a
121-110 victory over the Kings on Sunday night.

"These guys grew up on the playground," Minnesota coach Flip
Saunders said. "They're used to that. If it had been a lot longer,
it might have been difficult."

What made it easier was the 11-0 run that turned a close game
into an easy victory, eliminating the chance for a game-changing
possession in the final seconds.

After Bobby Jackson's three-point play cut Minnesota's lead to
106-104 with 2:52 to play, the clock stopped working following a
timeout. After a short delay while officials tried to get the clock
working, the game resumed with time being kept at the scorer's
table and the PA announcer calling out the time.

"It messed with your mind," Jackson said. "You can't pay
attention to the announcer and what he is saying. It was clock
management and we didn't have it. It's tough not seeing the
clock."

The Kings' frustration boiled over and at one point coach Rick
Adelman was screaming out "What's the time? What's the time?"

The Timberwolves played it cool. With assistant Don Zierden
using a stop watch on the sideline, Cassell hit a jumper right
after the delay. Garnett followed with a basket after Peja
Stojakovic missed a layup to make it 110-104. Cassell's 3-pointer
made it a nine-point lead and he and Garnett added two free throws
each before Chris Webber stopped the run with a 3-pointer.

"Luckily it wasn't too bad and you could hear. That was
important," Minnesota's Wally Szczerbiak said. "It's all behind
us and hopefully we won't have to deal with that again. Everyone
stepped up and played their role and did their job."

Garnett finished with 28 and Cassell had 25 as the Timberwolves
once again felt right at home in Sacramento and snapped the Kings'
seven-game winning streak.

Webber led the Kings with 25 points, while Stojakovic and Mike
Bibby added 22 apiece.

Cassell outscored Bibby 19-4 in the second half.

"When he's going like he's going we just sort of follow,"
Garnett said about Cassell.

Reserve Eddie Griffin had 20 points, including four 3-pointers
for the Timberwolves in the first meeting between the teams since
Minnesota knocked out Sacramento in Game 7 of the second round of
the playoffs last season.

While frenzied Arco Arena is normally one of the toughest arenas
for a visiting team, the Timberwolves aren't bothered by all the
noise and energy. Sacramento has lost just nine times at home the
last two seasons, including the playoffs, with Minnesota
responsible for four of them.

"It just came down to executing sets and making baskets,"
Cassell said. "That's what we did."

The Kings trailed 85-84 after three quarters after Matt Barnes
scored on a putback at the buzzer. Michael Olowokandi blocked
Webber's dunk attempt on a fast break before Barnes converted the
miss.

Olowokandi, who was suspended for two games by the team after
being charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing
after refusing to leave an Indianapolis club, scored four points in
a reserve role.

The Timberwolves went on a 10-1 run starting late in the first
quarter to build a 10-point lead before Bibby led the Kings back
into it. He scored 10 points in a 12-4 run and the teams stayed
close the rest of the half with Christie scoring on a fast break
with 1.4 seconds left to cut Minnesota's lead to 61-60.

Game notes
Referee Joey Crawford called three technical fouls in a
span of 3:41 in the first quarter. ... Cubs manager Dusty Baker
attended the game. ... Minnesota snapped Sacramento's eight-game
winning streak last season with a win at Arco Arena on Dec. 5. ...
Sacramento's Brad Miller was ejected in the final minute after
receiving his third technical. One was for hanging on the rim.