MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17 (Ticker) --
The Minnesota Timberwolves should have been tired, but they only got better as time wore on.
With two All-Stars going at it, it was KG and Co. who emerged victorious.
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, Wally Szczerbiak
and Joe Smith
each posted double-doubles as the Timberwolves continued the best start in franchise history with a 103-95 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Minnesota returned home after surviving a double-overtime affair in Indiana on Friday but showed no signs of fatigue, closing the third quarter in strong fashion and dominating the fourth period.
"We had an unbelievable effort coming off last night's game," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "In the second half, we picked up the defense and it caused problems."
"It was a big test for us after last night," Garnett said. "Our focus was to have energy and defend our home court. We did that."
The Timberwolves trailed, 53-50, midway through the third quarter before erupting for a 20-1 run. Szczerbiak scored six points and capped it with a pair of free throws that opened a 70-54 lead with 3:03 left.
"We just got all of our guys playing well and we all got hot," Szczerbiak said. "We're sharing the ball, playing defense and getting easy baskets in transition. We can do that because of our talented lineup."
The Wolves had a 75-61 cushion after three periods and made 11-of-19 shots in the fourth -- including 10 straight -- to extend its record to 8-1, best in the NBA.
Garnett had 21 points and 16 rebounds and Szczerbiak added 20 and a career-high 14 boards. Smith scored 21 on 10-of-12 shooting and swept 11 rebounds as Minnesota had three players post double-doubles for the first time since November 22, 2000.
"People asked why we signed Joe," Saunders said. "He does things well without the ball, he works well with Garnett. We don't need to run plays for him to get his points."
The Timberwolves shot 51 percent (42-of-82) and had a commanding 55-32 rebounding edge, including a franchise-record 43 defensive boards. They also dished out 28 assists led by Terrell Brandon, who had 10 to go with seven points.
The Magic shot just 40 percent (35-of-87) as their starters made just 20-of-58 shots.
"For our guys to go and hold them to 40 percent on a back-to-back game, that a (heck) of a defense," Saunders said.
Tracy McGrady scored 25 points and Mike Miller added 17 for Orlando. Grant Hill had 16 points and seven rebounds but committed six of the team's 10 turnovers.
The Magic led just once in the first quarter but closed the second period on a 9-4 run to turn a 40-40 tie into a five-point halftime advantage.
Orlando had a 51-44 lead after Darrell Armstrong nailed a jumper just 35 seconds into the second half.
The Timberwolves scored the next six points and pulled within 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Rasho Nesterovic, who had eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
"I think it all started with me coming out lackadaisical at both ends of the court in the third quarter," McGrady said. "I came out that way and the team responded the same way. That's when we lost the game."
McGrady followed with a jump shot to extend the lead, but Garnett nailed two free throws and Szczerbiak gave Minnesota the lead for good, 54-53, on a 12-foot jumper with 8:54 to go.
"It was a tale of two halves," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. "That stretch in the third quarter, we had terrific looks and we couldn't hit them. I have no problem with our offense, it was our defensive stretches that hurt us."