PHOENIX, Dec. 3 (Ticker) --
The Minnesota Timberwolves showed they
intend to be a factor in the Western Conference.
Kevin Garnett had 23 points and 19 rebounds and Latrell Sprewell
added 22 points as the Timberwolves continued their impressive
road trip with a 97-93 triumph over the red-hot Phoenix Suns.
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The Timberwolves had the best record in the West last season and
reached the conference finals for the first time in franchise
history. However, they got off to a slow 6-5 start this season.
Minnesota posted an easy home victory over Memphis before
embarking on a four-game trip that started with impressive wins
at Sacramento and Golden State. In this one, they sent a
message to the league's top team.
Entering with a nine-game winning streak, the Suns knew they
were in for a battle after ending the first quarter in a 29-29
tie. After Minnesota carried a four-point lead into
intermission, Phoenix fought back to take a 70-69 edge entering
the final period.
The Suns opened the fourth quarter with six straight points for
their biggest lead of the game, 76-69, but Sam Cassell sank
three consecutive baskets to draw the Timberwolves within a
After Steven Hunter's free throw with 7:41 remaining gave
Phoenix a 79-77 edge, Minnesota went on an 8-0 run to move ahead
Cassell scored 19 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 14 for the
Timberwolves, who conclude their road trip Saturday against the
Los Angeles Clippers.
Amare Stoudemire scored 28 points and Shawn Marion recorded his
12th double-double with 21 points and 18 rebounds for the Suns
(13-3), who have been handed two of their three losses this
season at home.