<
>

Wells lifts Kings past Timberwolves with 3-pointer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Bonzi Wells is fast becoming the Sacramento
Kings' go-to player in crunch time.

Wells hit a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired to lift
the Kings to a 93-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on
Tuesday night.

"My heart is still pounding," said Wells, who scored 14 of his
23 points in the fourth quarter of a victory over New Orleans on
Sunday. "It's an unbelievable feeling, especially when the clock's
going down, 3-2-1, like that."

Wells appeared to hand the Timberwolves their sixth victory in
seven games when he missed one of two free throws with 28 seconds
left, leaving the deficit at 91-89 after Trenton Hassell's driving
layup gave the Wolves a lead 2 seconds earlier.

But Kevin Garnett missed a tough baseline jumper over Shareef
Abdur-Rahim on the other end and Peja Stojakovic corralled a rare
rebound for the Kings to set up the final play.

Brad Miller caught an inbounds pass out past the 3-point line
with 2.7 seconds to play, took a frantic dribble and heaved a
desperate pass to Wells in the corner.

"I knew he was in the corner," Miller said. "I'm a pass guy.
It seemed like they weren't expecting that extra pass."

Wells caught it and launched a rainbow over Hassell's
outstretched hand that swished through the net just as the buzzer
sounded. The play was reviewed and the call stood.

Wells finished with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting and seven
rebounds for the Kings, who overcame a six-point deficit with 7
minutes to play and have now won three in a row after losing five
straight.

"The only thing that could be better is if it won a world
championship for my team," said Wells, who was acquired from the
Grizzlies for Greg Ostertag and Bobby Jackson in the offseason.

Wally Szczerbiak led the Wolves with 25 points, eight rebounds
and four assists, Garnett had 22 points and five assists and Marko
Jaric chipped in 16 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

"It's a tough loss to swallow," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey
said.

Abdur-Rahim scored nine of his 19 points in the final 6:30,
including a 3-pointer from the top of the arc that cut Minnesota's
lead to 87-86 with 1:24 to go.

After Garnett hit two free throws, Mike Bibby tied the game at
89 with another 3-pointer from the left wing, and Wells finished
off the stunned Timberwolves to cap a thrilling final period.

"It was well-defended," Szczerbiak said. "We played it
perfectly, but he made the shot."

The Timberwolves pounded the Kings on the boards all night long,
finishing with a 44-32 advantage that nearly helped them overcome a
dreadful start of the game following a draining overtime loss at
Philadelphia on Monday night.

They missed their first 14 field goal attempts of the second
quarter to fall behind 35-21, but used their rebounding dominance
to slowly get back in the game.

They closed the second quarter with an 11-4 run, then Michael
Olowokandi's dunk capped an 8-0 run midway through the third that
gave the Wolves a 56-55 lead, their first since 2-0.

Szczerbiak scored nine straight points for Minnesota in the
fourth, the last coming on a 3-pointer that gave the Timberwolves a
79-73 lead with less than 7 minutes to play.

That's when Abdur-Rahim took over, going 6-for-6 from the foul
line and hitting the big 3 down the stretch.

Bibby added 17 points and six assists and Stojakovic scored 14
for the Kings.

"Those guys fought hard, played hard," Casey said. "To lose
like that ..."

"It's very, very, very demoralizing right now," Szczerbiak
said. "I know this team will stick together and we'll bounce
back."

Game notes
Timberwolves G Troy Hudson missed his fourth straight game
with a strained calf. ... C Mark Madsen had 10 rebounds. ...
Stojakovic missed just his sixth free throw of the season. He is
68-of-74 for the year. ... After dishing out 10 assists in each of
the last two games, Miller had just four on Tuesday night.