Garnett, Timberwolves Beat Bulls to End Slide
Minnesota 99, Chicago 93
MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 11 (Ticker) -- Superstar Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves put an end two streaks.
Garnett collected his 500th career double-double with 28 points and 14 rebounds as the Timberwolves ended their three-game slide with a 99-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
"Garnett was special (tonight)," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "We opened up the lane for him quite a bit where he had the chance to move from block to block. He took advantage of the fact that we spaced the floor. They were sending a couple of guys at him - one in front, one behind, and one on top of him. They had three guys on him at all times, so we had to get creative with the ball."
With the offense running through Garnett, Minnesota committed just 10 turnovers.
"Our turnovers were probably the key to us losing the last three games," said Garnett. "They were down, so it gives us a chance to win."
Chicago trailed, 73-71, with 9:25 remaining before Minnesota went on a 7-2 spurt. Garnett capped it with a 13-foot jumper with just under five minutes to go.
"Taking nothing away from Kevin," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "(In the fourth quarter) one time we went for a steal which wasn't a wise move, another time we ran off (Wally) Szczerbiak and he hit him for a three and then Kevin hit a couple of tough shots as well. We did not have a wise game tonight in any way, shape, or form."
Chicago's Darius Songaila made a pair of free throws and Garnett split a pair before Anthony Carter blocked Kirk Hinrich's layup, sparking a fast break. Garnett converted a three-point play with 4:54 left, rebuilding the advantage to 84-75.
"AC (Carter) was big tonight, especially in the fourth quarter," said Szczerbiak, who scored 25 points. "When you're put in the game, just give something. It doesn't have to be scoring. It could be defense, it could be rebounding. That was a tribute to him, and we need more efforts like that."
The Bulls closed to 93-91 on a hook by Michael Sweetney with 15 seconds left, but Szczerbiak, Garnett and Carter each made two free throws to seal the victory.
"There was a lot of out-of-position fouling," Skiles said. "If we don't let them go to the line that much, we probably get the win. We had a lot of trouble (defensively). The last three games, we haven't, but tonight we did it again. We didn't move our feet and play proper position defense."
Trenton Hassell scored 14 points and Troy Hudson added 12 off the bench for the Timberwolves, who shot 39 percent (30-of-77) from the field.
Andres Nocioni had 23 points and nine rebounds and Hinrich added 17, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for Chicago, which shot 45 percent (9-of-20) from the arc.
"Nocioni is a competitor," Hinrich said. "He's a warrior. He plays hard and does so many little things for this team. When he plays like that, which is a lot of the time, it's a huge boost for us."
Bulls guard Ben Gordon scored 14 of his 19 points in the first quarter but was hampered by foul trouble thereafter.
"I got off to a good start," said Gordon, who made 8-of-17 shots. "Then I got plagued by foul trouble, and it kind of busted up my rhythm."
"I didn't think either team was especially sharp tonight, to put it mildly," Skiles said. "It was anybody's game for the taking. They turned it up a little bit and we weren't able to make any big plays to stay with them, we could have at any moment exerted ourselves we could have come back, we just couldn't do it."