OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- When Ricky Davis has scored well this
season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have won. Davis had 23 points
Friday night, and terrific halfcourt team defense did the rest in a
victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
The Timberwolves held New Orleans to a season-low 33.8 percent
shooting and kept the Hornets from forcing the tempo in an 86-79
Coach Dwane Casey said he had told Davis before the game that
the Timberwolves were 3-0 when he scored 16 or more.
"I didn't want to count my chickens, but I stayed aggressive
with what I do and made sure my teammates were involved," Davis
said. "It's important, especially on the road, to control the pace
because once they get going, it's off to the races."
Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Minnesota, and
Mark Blount and Marko Jaric scored 11 each. Chris Paul was the only
Hornet in double figures, with 18. Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo
had 13 each.
In losing for the first time in five home games, New Orleans had
only five fast-break points after three quarters. The Hornets got
their running game going during a 7-0 spurt to start the fourth
quarter, giving them a 67-66 lead, but Minnesota responded with a
15-2 run to take control for good.
"This is such a difficult place to play, it was just very
important for us to be focused in that moment," Jaric said. "We
stuck with our plan and didn't let the situation take over."
Jaric started the rally with two driving baskets and Troy Hudson
capped it with five straight points including a 3-pointer. The
Hornets were 1-for-8 with two turnovers during that time.
Paul had a career-high 35 points in a 99-96 victory over the
Timberwolves six nights earlier. He was just 4-of-11 this time,
with six turnovers. Peja Stojakovic was 3-of-15, Jackson 5-of-14.
"The ball just wasn't going in the hole for us and when that
happens, we have to get stops on the defensive end and that just
wasn't happening," Desmond Mason said. "We didn't push the ball,
we didn't catch it or swing it from side to side or shoot it
Davis scored nine of his points in the third quarter when the
Timberwolves took advantage of 4-of-17 shooting by the Hornets to
open as much as an eight-point lead, 66-58. The Hornets had only
one field goal in the final seven minutes of the third, that coming
on a drive by Paul on one of their few fast-break chances.
The Hornets, coming off a poor shooting night in a loss at
Phoenix on Wednesday night, continued their struggles against the
Timberwolves. Yet they managed to stay close, in part because
Garnett wasn't much of a factor early -- he took only five shots and
scored seven points in the first half.
Jackson provided a lift off the bench for New Orleans, scoring
eight points during a 12-2 run in the closing minutes of the first
quarter that gave the Hornets their biggest first-half lead, 26-21.
The Hornets then went nearly four minutes without scoring as the
Timberwolves moved back in front early in the second.
The Hornets wound up just 3-of-17 from 3-point range, one
game after going 1-of-14 from that distance. ... Something about
the Ford Center must agree with Ricky Davis. Last season, in his
only visit as a member of the Boston Celtics, he scored 32. ...
Hornets forward David West (strained right forearm) missed his
sixth straight game. ... Friday's game was the first of four in
five days for the Timberwolves. Three of those are on the road.