MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 21 (Ticker) -- David Wesley
missed a tying 3-pointer with 14 seconds left as the Minnesota Timberwolves held on for a 94-89 win over the Charlotte Hornets to snap a three-game losing streak.
Minnesota took a 76-62 lead into the fourth quarter and scored the period's first basket, but Lee Nailon
led Charlotte's comeback. He made six shots from the field in the quarter after hitting just two over the first 36 minutes.
"I started feeling it at the end," Nailon said. "They kept coming to me and I kept knocking shots down. Coach (Paul Silas) tells us to never give up, keep going and always fight to get back in the game. Tonight they just called a couple of plays for me and I got hot."
The Hornets whittled the deficit to 90-89 on Nailon's layup with 36 seconds left. But Wally Szczerbiak
hit a floater in the lane with 14 seconds to go and, after Wesley missed his shot from the arc, went 1-of-2 from the foul line to make it 93-89.
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Gary Trent and the Wolves refused to let their losing streak reach a season-high four games.
"I had committed to attack the basket," Szczerbiak said. "I attacked the basket the play before and had a dunk blocked. I made an aggressive play, and down the stretch when you make aggressive plays, you hope they pay off. I made a big shot at the end and I'm just happy it brought us the victory."
missed a wild 3-pointer and Minnesota's Kevin Garnett
made 1-of-2 from the line to complete the scoring.
Garnett collected 20 points and 14 rebounds and Chauncey Billups
added 17 points. Joe Smith
chipped in 16.
"Tonight, (Billups) had a great first half," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "In the second half, he comes out and hasn't had that killer instinct. He has to go out and say if he scores 14 in the first half, there is no reason he can't get another 14 in the second half. He wants to do well and play the team concept. He just has to get his aggressiveness all of the time."
"Most importantly, we came out and played semi-good basketball," Garnett said. "We made some mistakes, but we're not perfect as people or players. And the most important thing is that we stopped the bleeding."
had 25 points and seven assists and Wesley added 16 points and nine assists for Charlotte.
"It seemed like the first and third quarters, they could do whatever they wanted," Davis said. "But we battled back. We're upset that we lost the game, but as long as we play hard, you can't be too mad. We kept coming back, and I'm happy about that."
Both teams shot 44 percent (37-of-84) from the field, but Charlotte was just 3-of-14 from the arc while Minnesota went 6-of-11.
"The positive thing was that we came through a little adversity," Saunders said. "It was one of those situations that when you've been there a couple of times, you start thinking about the moment. Once you play through it, you play with more confidence. It spurs you on a little bit."
"We picked it up," Silas said. "I like what we've been doing. We are developing the mental toughness that we need, but we have a very small margin for error. And that's the problem. They're giving me all they've got and that's all I can ask."