Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 12/18

Game 1: Sunday, December 18th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 4th
Game 3: Saturday, January 7th

Mavericks 78

(23-9, 11-5 away)

Timberwolves 91

(15-14, 10-6 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, January 4, 2006

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 17 24 19 1878
    MIN 18 20 31 2291

    Top Performers

    Dallas: D. Nowitzki 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 23 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Jaric scores 22 as struggling Wolves top Mavs

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves need Marko Jaric to stop being so self-critical and start playing more consistently.

    He relaxed for once, and they reaped the benefits against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Jaric scored 22 points to spark struggling Minnesota to a 91-78 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night.

    "I was telling myself, 'Marko, this team needs a point guard out there," said the mercurial Jaric, who came in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers this summer and has performed sporadically since.

    The Timberwolves, who won for only the third time in their last 11 games, were paced by Kevin Garnett's 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

    Wally Szczerbiak contributed his usual 20 points, but Jaric and defensive stalwart Trenton Hassell (14 points) were the catalysts for a team that has been starving for scoring beyond the big two. Garnett and Szczerbiak are the only ones averaging better than 11 points per game, but Jaric was right there with them in this one.

    "That's a good sign," Szczerbiak said. "He's a very high-strung guy. He's got to channel that in the right way. He can't get down on himself."

    Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points, and Marquis Daniels chipped in 16 points for the sluggish Mavericks, who were held to a season-low in scoring and shot only 37.2 percent (29-for-78) from the floor. They lost for just the fourth time in their last 17 games.

    "Nobody had a lot of energy out there, and we were going through the motions," Nowitzki said. "That's not good enough to win on the road."

    The effort was exactly what Minnesota has been missing, still stinging from a two-game trip to Florida that featured a 30-point loss to the Orlando Magic and a 27-point defeat to the Miami Heat. It was especially rewarding against a team like Dallas, which has the NBA's third-best record at 23-9.

    "We're on the radar now," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "There is no hiding."

    That goes for Jason Terry, who had 42 points in his last two games. Jaric guarded him well, and he carried that over to the offensive end. Terry scored seven points on 3-for-14 shooting.

    "I don't think they blew by us once on those mid-pick-and-rolls," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "The past couple games, they've had a smorgasbord."

    Jaric had only 23 points, total, in his previous four games.

    "It was the first night we didn't have to say anything to him," Garnett said. "I think he had a chip on his shoulder."

    Mavericks backup point guard Devin Harris was OK to play after spraining his right thumb the night before against Portland when he blocked a dunk attempt by the Blazers' Ruben Patterson -- knocking Harris out of the game in the second quarter.

    That's the kind of play Johnson is after (though not the injury part, of course) this season from his team, never known for strong defense and sometimes derided as "Allas" -- as in no 'D.'

    The Mavs were stingy in the first half, rebounding well and holding the Wolves to 38 points -- including only one second-chance basket. They grabbed a three-point lead at the buzzer when Nowitzki swished a 26-foot heave, but their shooting was off and the running attack was mostly in first gear.

    Embarrassed by 27 fast-break points given up in a 102-95 loss at Dallas last month, Minnesota was deliberate about getting back on defense and keeping the up-tempo Mavericks out of their element.

    Hassell's 3-pointer tied the game at 43 early in the third quarter, and the Timberwolves never trailed after that. Hassell had a dunk over Nowitzki on a feed from Szczerbiak to make it 59-51, and Jaric scored on a wide-open jam off a fast break to put Minnesota up 63-55. Dallas was flustered, committing three turnovers over the final three minutes of the period.

    "Once we started missing, we started pressing," said sixth man Jerry Stackhouse, who had five points on 1-for-9 shooting. "Just a bad night. Won't be the last one, either."

    Game notes

    Josh Howard, who was picked three spots after the Wolves chose high-schooler Ndudi Ebi in the 2003 draft, added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Mavericks. Ebi is already out of the league. ... Minnesota's frontcourt was thinned by the absence of Mark Madsen, whose grandmother died this week. The funeral is in Utah on Thursday, and Madsen is expected to rejoin the team for Friday's game in San Antonio. ... Dallas will decide Thursday on swingman Adrian Griffin's status, Johnson said before tipoff. If he's still on the roster on Tuesday, his contract becomes guaranteed for the rest of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 78 91
    FGM-FGA 29-78 (.372) 33-70 (.471)
    3PM-3PA 2-11 (.182) 1-7 (.143)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 24-29 (.828)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-40 11-39
    Assists 8 18
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 5 9
    Blocks 4 7
    Fast Break Points 7 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 3 16

    Top Performers

    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 23
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 23
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2