EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Dec. 19 (Ticker) --
It is only Wednesday, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have cornered the market on painful losses this week.
One day after blowing a 22-point lead, the Timberwolves used a furious fourth-quarter rally to force overtime, only to drop a 117-112 decision to the red-hot New Jersey Nets.
Minnesota had won six straight games before dropping both ends of a home-and-home series with Dallas. In Tuesday's 107-103, the lead squandered by the Timberwolves was the largest in team history.
On Wednesday, Minnesota erased a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit only to fall apart in overtime.
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Kenyon Martin sails toward his goal.
"A loss is a loss," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "In this league there is winning and misery and those are the two things we got. Last night we lost. I think we learned from it and we forgot about it. Tonight, I can't fault our effort."
Jason Kidd had nine of his season-high 33 points in the extra session while Kenyon Martin scored a career-high 31 points for the Nets, who have won four straight games.
At 16-7, New Jersey has the Eastern Conference's best record and is off to its best start since entering the NBA in 1976. The 117 points were a season high for New Jersey, which is 2-2 in overtime.
"The game was very exhausting," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "I really thought our guys showed a lot of character out there. We had everything going against us, especially in overtime, and to come out with a win the way we did tonight was fantastic."
Kevin Garnett led Minnesota with 29 points, 21 rebounds, seven assists and a season-high five blocks. He did have seven of Minnesota's 20 turnovers.
"We can't give ourselves excuses," Garnett said. "We can't say we fought hard and we are good with that. Unfortunately, in this game playing hard is pretty much our standard. We've got to stop the bleeding at three (losses). We have to turn this thing around come Friday."
The Nets seemed in control at the end of regulation, leading 102-96 with 59 seconds left. But Anthony Peeler sank a 3-pointer and Todd MacCulloch missed two free throws. Wally Szczerbiak drained a 12-foot runner to get the Timberwolves within 102-101 with 24 seconds remaining.
Kidd quickly was fouled but he made just 1-of-2 from the line and Garnett was able to hit a turnaround jumper with 10 seconds to go that tied the game, 103-103. Kidd missed a potential game-winning basket at the buzzer.
Kidd's struggles from the line continued in overtime as he split a pair 56 seconds into the extra session. Szczerbiak made a jumper 26 seconds later to give Minnesota the lead for the first time in the second half.
The Timberwolves led 110-108 with 76 seconds left when Martin and Kidd took over. Martin tied the game with a dunk, then stole the ball from Garnett and took it in for a layup.
Kidd fed Martin for another dunk with 30 seconds to go before sealing the victory with three free throws in the final 12 seconds.
"Jason Kidd and I agreed that we were not going to lose this game and we did what we had to do," Martin said. "He would make a shot, I would make a shot, we were taking turns. It was a great game."
"Those are the games you give away and look back at the end of the season and say, `We were up 15 points at home and we let that one slip away,'" Kidd said. "The big thing is that we went into overtime and we stayed with it."
New Jersey held a very early lead, but Minnesota appeared to put Tuesday's disheartening loss behind it and led 26-21 after one quarter. Garnett scored nine points.
Minnesota's lead was 38-31 with just over six minutes to go in the first half before New Jersey closed the quarter with a 24-10 run. MacCulloch ignited the spurt with a three-point play and Kidd capped it with a 12-footer with less than a second to go.
The Timberwolves got within 70-69 with 4:01 left in the third quarter but Martin sank a 3-pointer 21 seconds later to ignite a 14-2 run. Kidd had seven and Lucious Harris four during the spurt.
The Nets extended their advantage in the fourth quarter and led 95-76 following a 17-footer by Martin with 7:58 remaining. But Peeler drained a jumper that sparked a 15-0 run and got Minnesota back in the game.
"They were down by 15 points in the fourth quarter and they fought back," Martin said. "That is what a good ballclub does. We took their punches and just kept coming."