MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 8 (Ticker) --
The Minnesota Timberwolves found a nice way to punctuate the best start in franchise history.
Kevin Garnett scored 10 of his 15 points in the second quarter.
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The Timberwolves had seven players in double figures, led by Joe Smith's
17 points (16 in the first quarter), and embarrassed the Chicago Bulls, 127-74, for the largest victory in team history and the franchise's first 5-0 start.
The 53-point differential also marked the worst loss for the Bulls, who suffered a 115-68 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic on April 2, 1999. Minnesota shattered its previous biggest victory of 39 points over Golden State on February 23 of last season.
Chicago, which has dropped four straight to Minnesota, was never in this contest, falling behind by 20 points after just 12 minutes and allowing the Timberwolves to make it a laugher with a 33-10 third quarter.
"What you saw out there tonight was pathetic," Bulls coach Tim Floyd said. "On defense we didn't give enough of ourselves and Minnesota did. Every pass and shot was challenged. The young guys were pathetic and the old guys were pathetic. We couldn't beat a sloppy junior high team tonight."
had 14 points and 12 assists and Kevin Garnett
collected 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Timberwolves, who also established a team shooting record at 64.2 percent (52-of-81).
"We don't expect this. We're always having fun, but it's early and we look for the ups and downs of the season," said Brandon. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to go out and focus at all times."
Minnesota scored 19 of the game's first 25 points and the rout was on. A 20-footer by Wally Szczerbiak
with just under four minutes to play in the opening quarter made it 23-8 and Rasho Nesterovic
made two free throws for a 30-10 advantage with 1:24 left in the period.
"This is a no-mercy league," said Minnesota guard Chauncey Billups,
who had nine assists. "We play like this and it's great for everyone. It's a fun style of play."
The 20-point deficit after 12 minutes marked the closest the Bulls would be the rest of the night. Minnesota's bulge grew to as much as 56 points in the waning minutes, by which time most off the 15,719 in attendance had departed the Target Center.
Nesterovic and Szczerbiak had 13 points apiece and Gary Trent
came off the bench to net 13 points in 19 minutes for Minnesota, which held a 39-29 advantage on the boards and went 5-of-11 from 3-point range.
The Timberwolves forced 21 turnovers which they turned into 34 points and committed only 10 miscues.
Minnesota collected 39 assists, three off the team record.
"Unselfishness starts with me," said Brandon. "I get people the ball and we as a team build on it."
was the only player in double figures for Chicago with 15 points. The Bulls shot just 40 percent (29-of-73) from the floor, made only 1-of-7 3-pointers and missed nine free throws.
"They (the Bulls) are going to be good players, but it takes some time for them to develop in this league," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said.