MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 11 (Ticker) -- Wally Szczerbiak
made sure this game was over by halftime.
Szczerbiak scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half and Kevin Garnett added 20 and eight rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised to their fourth straight win, 107-86, over the Golden State Warriors.
Szczerbiak made 9-of-17 shots from the floor in the first 24 minutes, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and sparked a key run late in the second quarter to help the Timberwolves seize control.
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More stringent than Harvard's admissions committee, Kevin Garnett, rejects this application for two points.
Minnesota had a 42-41 lead with 6:16 left in the second before going on a 13-4 run. Szczerbiak nailed a jumper and two layups during the burst, including a driving layup with 1:08 left to give the Timberwolves a 55-45 advantage.
He took a tip pass from Garnett and nailed a 3-pointer from the left sideline as time expired to give Minnesota a 60-50 halftime cushion.
"It was a play where I have the isolation or I know Wally's guy backs into me and he would be open," Garnett said. "I have always been able to see the defense while the ball is in the air. I saw Wally's guy wasn't on him, so I gave him the ball."
"It wasn't so bad in the first half, then we finished by making a bonehead play," Golden State coach Dave Cowens said. "I thought we matched their energy early on, then we have a mind-lock in the last few seconds of the first half."
Szczerbiak made just 1-of-6 shots in the second half, but Garnett shouldered the offensive burden. After Golden State closed within 64-56, the Timberwolves went on a 10-1 run, highlighted by seven points from Garnett.
"We wanted to come out in the second half and set ourselves," Garnett said. "Sometimes we lose games in the third quarter. That comes from not focusing and having the energy we are supposed to have. I have always tried to lead this team and set an example."
The All-Star power forward scored all seven points in s span of 39 seconds. He completed a three-point play at 7:36 and followed it by stealing an errant pass from Larry Hughes and taking it downcourt for a dunk.
After a missed 3-pointer by the Warriors, Garnett drained a turnaround jumper at the other end to make it 72-56 with 6:57 left. Golden State never got closer than 14 thereafter.
"We took care of business," Szczerbiak said. "That's what we have to do, especially at home. We've struggled with games like this. I don't think we gave our `A' effort. We have to play with energy and play well. I think we have a lot of improvements to make after tonight."
Joe Smith finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds against his former team and Gary Trent added 14 and eight for the Timberwolves, who have won five straight at the Target Center.
"It's not as big a deal to me to beat Golden State as it was before," said Smith, who played with the Warriors from 1995-97. "We know what they are capable of. We just wanted to come out and jump on them."
Chauncey Billups had 11 points and seven assists off the bench and Terrell Brandon collected nine and 13 as Minnesota piled up 37 assists and outscored the Warriors, 28-11, on the break.
The Timberwolves shot 47 percent (47-of-101) and made 6-of-15 3-pointers while going to the line just 11 times on their home floor. They held Golden State's anemic offense to 38 percent (30-of-79) shooting.
Danny Fortson had 17 points and 14 rebounds and reserve Bobby Sura scored 16 points for the Warriors, who have lost their last five visits to the Target Center.
However, Fortson made just 2-of-7 shots from the floor while making 13-of-15 free throws and committed six of the team's 19 turnovers.
"Had we held onto the ball, we would've stayed in the game," he said. "It's the same thing over and over again. I made a couple of passes I shouldn't have. I thought there was an opportunity to make some plays, but it just didn't work out."
Hughes scored 14 points and rookie Troy Murphy chipped in 12, but All-Star Antawn Jamison was held to 11 points in 35 minutes.