Garnett’s Big Night Fuels Timberwolves
Minnesota 109, Washington 98
MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17 (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett was more than happy to hand the Washington Wizards their first losing streak of the season.
Garnett collected 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists as the hot-shooting Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Wizards 109-98.
"If you look at (Garnett's) career, he dominates the first three quarters, then in the fourth quarter when everyone's paying attention to him, he finds everybody else," Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas said. "That's why he's a great player."
It was the second straight game that the Wizards had been victimized by an MVP-caliber performance. LeBron James scored 37 points for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 114-99 triumph over Washington on Tuesday.
"We played hard - not necessarily smart - a lot of times," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "It's the second night a great player just took over the game."
Wally Szczerbiak added 17 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota, which held a 45-31 advantage on the glass.
With the game tied at 26-26 at the start of the second quarter, the Wizards came out strong, sinking their first five shots to open a quick three-point margin. But with Garnett and Szczerbiak scoring a combined 19 points in the final 8:30, the Timberwolves took a 10-point lead into halftime.
The Wizards responded with a 23-9 run in the final 6:51 of the third quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Arenas in the closing 35 seconds, and trailed by just one point going into the final period.
Minnesota led throughout the fourth quarter, but held just an 86-83 edge after a jumper by Washington's Caron Butler with 8:30 to play. But the Timberwolves embarked on an 11-2 run, opening a 97-85 cushion on a reverse layup by Troy Hudson with 5:16 left, and cruised thereafter.
Hudson and Richie Frahm both scored 16 points off the bench, including 11 each in the final period.
"(Hudson and Frahm's effort) took a little load off me for a minute there," Garnett said. "Richie's been struggling a little bit. It was good to see him find his shot. T-Hud stayed aggressive, and with about six minutes left started to move the ball and get some easy shots."
"We did a better job closing the game tonight. We completed it," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "(Frahm) came in and made a difference. He got everybody going. His making shots was contagious. It was huge - (Hudson) made his, Wally made his. It also gave Kevin a little more space in the post."
Arenas scored 33 points to pace the Wizards, who have lost eight of the last nine games in the series. Washington made 8-of-13 3-pointers, but allowed Minnesota to sink 7-of-13 from behind the arc.
"Their role players hit big shots," Arenas said. "They did a great job complementing KG and they hit big, gutsy shots."
Off to its best start in 16 years, Washington failed to match the franchise's best eight-game start since the 1975-76 Bullets opened the campaign 6-2.
The Timberwolves, who won their sixth straight home game against the Wizards, improved to 4-4 on the season.
"You know what? (Coach) Casey has us pointed in the right direction," Garnett said. "We're playing defense, we're on the same page. We're dealing with the variables we have. We're playing with a new system, new guys, and when we connect, it's beautiful."