DALLAS, Feb. 19 (Ticker) --
Without KG, Chauncey Billups
and Wally Szczerbiak
made sure the Minnesota Timberwolves would not be KO'd by the Dallas Mavericks.
Billups scored a team-record 24 of his career-high 36 points in the third quarter and Szczerbiak scored 13 of his 31 in the fourth as the Timberwolves overcame the absence of Kevin Garnett
and posted a 117-100 road victory over the Mavericks.
The All-Star forward missed the game in order to attend his grandfather's funeral in South Carolina on Tuesday.
After Shawn Bradley
scored on a dunk to cut Minnesota's lead to 84-83 with 8:35 remaining, Szczerbiak hit a 3-pointer to start a 21-6 run. Billups bookended the burst with a free throw after Dallas coach Don Nelson picked up his second techincal for arguing with the officials with 2:49 left.
NBA TV highlights from Wolves-Mavericks:
CB hit the perfect frequency, particularly in the third, piling up 24 points in the frame.
Dallas led early in the third quarter, 58-46, but Billups scored 11 consecutive points, including three straight 3-pointers, in 71 seconds. After Szczerbiak gave Minnesota the lead for good at 77-76 on a 3-pointer with 56 seconds left in the quarter, Billups made a layup and another 3-pointer before the period ended.
"I was in a zone, but I didn't come out looking to just take over," Billups said. "I noticed at the start of the second quarter that they were going with the screen and roll at the top of the key. I struggled a little bit in the first half so they started going under and it opened up. I hit the first two and I knew I was in a zone."
"There's no question that Chauncey's 11-point barrage in two minutes at the beginning of the third quarter pretty much set the tone that, OK, it's going to be a game the rest of the way and we're going to find a way to hang around and hang in there," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "I was proud. I told our guys, `All we've got to do is go out and execute our game plan and give yourselves a chance.' That's what we did."
Billups, who has taken over at point guard for injured starter Terrell Brandon
, broke James Robinson's team record of 23 points set in the fourth quarter of a game at Cleveland on December 30, 1996. Dallas had just 20 points in the quarter.
"A lot of people don't give him a lot of credit for what he can do on the floor, but he's come up big for us in big games," Szczerbiak said. "I love playing with him at the point guard. He's going to carry us as far as this team's going to go. He's really stepped up and matured and done a great job."
chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who won for the fourth time in their last five games after dropping six of their previous eight contests.
It was just Minnesota's second win in its last eight games against Dallas and snapped a three-game road losing streak against the Mavericks.
led Dallas with 24 points. Dirk Nowitzki
pulled down 12 rebounds but shot just 2-of-10 and finished with nine points.
Minnesota shot 50 percent (43-of-86) and limited Dallas to 40 percent (37-of-92).
"They came in here without Kevin and beat us," Nowitzki said. "We have to regroup and try to get back on track. Our man-to-man defense lately is terrible. We've just got to go back to basics, keep them in front of us and make them shoot tough shots."
The Timberwolves led, 39-36, after Anthony Peeler
capped a 10-0 run with 7:42 left in the second quarter. But Dallas closed the half on a 20-7 run to take a 56-46 edge into halftime.
With the win, the Timberwolves moved within a half-game of the Mavericks atop the Midwest Division.
"They made some big shots, a lot of contested threes," said Michael Finley
, who had just 10 points on 3-of-19 shooting. "We would go down to the other end and either turn the ball over or take a bad shot. If you keep doing that possession after possession that really adds up. As a result of that they beat us."