SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Kevin Garnett followed his season-low
scoring total with an average night of 21 points.
With plenty of help from the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves,
that was enough.
"We just spaced the floor. We had five guys who could shoot,
dribble, pass -- do anything when they're asked to do it,"
Szczerbiak said. "We had Utah's head spinning. They didn't know
what to do. They didn't know who to guard."
After a 5-5 start, Minnesota is looking like a contender -- with
more than just Garnett. The Wolves swept back-to-back games in
Sacramento -- despite only 11 points from Garnett -- and Utah, and
are unbeaten on a four-game road trip that wraps up Wednesday in
Minnesota closed the game with a 12-3 run, when Szczerbiak made
two of his three 3-pointers to end any hopes of a Jazz comeback.
"It's going to take more than K.G. to win games," Griffin
said. "Before, we'd try to force feed him towards the end of the
game. Now Troy (Hudson) and Wally are stepping up."
Hudson scored nine points and drew an offensive foul as
Minnesota scored nine straight points late in the fourth quarter to
pull ahead for good.
Griffin had three blocks in the final period and topped his
previous career high by one.
"He's always active on the defensive end. Tonight he was like a
madman," Garnett said.
Utah scored 48 points from the lane, partly because the Jazz
weren't scoring much at all from outside the paint. Utah was just
1-for-10 on 3-pointers.
Mehmet Okur led Utah with 14 points and Matt Harpring had 10
rebounds. Jarron Collins scored 10 points and Andrei Kirilenko had
10 points, four blocks and nine rebounds for the Jazz, who were
just 1-for-10 from 3-point range and fell to 1-5 on the second of
back-to-back games. Utah won at Portland on Sunday.
"They executed and pretty much did what they wanted to do,"
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "That is what a veteran team can do
and we got lost too many times."
After Collins put Utah up 48-46 with a three-point play, Garnett
and Szczerbiak combined for a 12-2 run that put the Wolves up 58-50
early in the third quarter. The Jazz made a few pushes early in the
fourth, but Minnesota pulled away from the younger Jazz down the
"I think we lost our concentration a little bit defensively,"
After Devin Brown got Utah within 72-69 with a left-handed
layup, the Jazz broke down defensively and Szczerbiak was all alone
in front of the Utah bench for a 3-pointer that doubled Minnesota's
"Guys are getting me the ball in positions where I can do
something with it," Szczerbiak said.
Garnett found Griffin for a dunk on Minnesota's next possession,
then Szczerbiak hit a 3 from the top of the key.
Garnett picked up a loose ball and passed it to Szczerbiak on a
fast break. Szczerbiak missed on a dunk, but was fouled and made
both free throws. Marko Jaric saved another loose ball from going
out of bounds and the Wolves got it to Garnett, who missed a layup
that could have set up a three-point play.
Garnett made both shots from the line, where Minnesota was
Hudson drew an offensive foul when Okur ran over him at the
other end, then Szczerbiak added to Minnesota's streak with another
3-pointer. Szczerbiak pumped his fist toward the Wolves' bench as
he ran back on defense.<
^Notes@: The Jazz converted three chances for three-point plays and
scored two more points on free throws for 3-second defensive
violations in the first quarter. ... Both teams played on the West
Coast the night before and landed in Salt Lake City around the same
time early Monday. ... The Jazz were without center Greg Ostertag,
who was out with back spasms.