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Szczerbiak, KG key Wolves win over Lakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Lakers blew a big lead for the second
straight game. This time they didn't win.

Wally Szczerbiak scored 34 points, Kevin Garnett added 29, and
the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Timberwolves rallied for a
113-108 victory Friday night over Los Angeles.

Troy Hudson's shooting brought the Wolves back in the second
half and he finished with 18.

"Seems like we have to be smacked upside the head before we
start scoring," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We've got to
start the game the way we finished."

Lamar Odom led five Lakers in double figures with 24 points.
Smush Parker added 22, Kobe Bryant 20, Brian Cook 19 and Luke
Walton 10.

"I told the players this was about as good a game as we've
played offensively," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
"Unfortunately, defensively we couldn't stop the Timberwolves.
They were on fire."

The Lakers, last in the Pacific Division, led much of the way --
including 18 points in the first half -- until the Wolves outscored
them 28-16 to end the game. They blew a 14-point lead at Utah on
Thursday night.

"When you hit 10 shots in a row down the stretch, you are going
to be hard to beat," Parker said. "They step up with big plays
when they need to. It was a tough night for us."

After taking at least 26 shots in his previous five games,
Bryant only took 16. He had nine rebounds and a season-high eight
assists, but getting his teammates more involved didn't help down
the stretch.

"It's not an easy offense to learn for so many young players,
so it's important to be patient," Bryant said. "Phil and my
tolerance for patience is pretty much the same, so I don't think
we're in the same boat right now. We have to be patient. That's the
only way that we can improve, and we know that."

The Wolves scored seven in a row, capped by Garnett's turnaround
jumper that tied the game at 92 with 5:43 remaining. At the same
time, Bryant missed a 21-footer, Walton missed and then Bryant
turned the ball over on a bad pass.

Szczerbiak continued Minnesota's run with a 20-foot jumper that
gave the Wolves their first lead since the opening quarter.

"We kept the second-chance points to a minimum and never looked
back," Garnett said.

Odom dunked to tie it at 94, then Garnett made a layup before
Parker's driving layup pulled the Lakers into another tie at 96
with 4:21 to go.

Minnesota dominated the final four minutes with consistent
offense. Trenton Hassell hit a 3-pointer, Garnett scored over Chris
Mihm and hit a jumper, Marko Jaric made a 3-pointer, Szczerbiak hit
two free throws, and Jaric made another 3 to overwhelm the Lakers.

"Everything came together. Making shots became contagious,"
Szczerbiak said. "We just needed a major mojo change. We got to
learn from this win and build on it."

Hudson and Szczerbiak combined on a 15-6 run spanning the third
and fourth quarters to cut the Wolves' deficit to 86-82 with 9:13
remaining. Hudson's reverse layup opened the fourth, then
Szczerbiak hit consecutive 3-pointers.

The Wolves closed within 10 points three times in the third, the
last time on a 3-pointer by Hudson. He keyed their final possession
by passing to Szczerbiak for a basket with two seconds left that
had them trailing 82-74 going into the final 12 minutes.

The Lakers outscored the Wolves 32-21 in the second quarter to
lead 60-45 at halftime. The Lakers widened the gap with a 16-7 run
in the second, with Cook scoring six in a row.

Cook, Parker and Bryant carried the Lakers in the first half,
with each scoring in double figures.

Game notes
The Lakers are 0-2 against the Wolves, having lost by 14
points in the first meeting. ... Los Angeles fell to 0-3 in the
second game of back-to-backs.