McCants Sparks Timberwolves Past Nets
Minnesota 100, New Jersey 90
MINNEAPOLIS, March 1 (Ticker) -- The Nets reserves continued to struggle Wednesday, while the Timberwolves received a big boost from their bench.
Again getting little production from their bench, the Nets continued to struggle on the road, dropping 100-90 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who received a season-high 21 points from rookie Rashad McCants.
"It's not apples to apples," Nets Coach Lawrence Frank said. "Their bench plays a whole lot more than our bench. It's not a true comparison. You can't compare by points.
"It's a collective team effort. We don't segment the team into groups. We didn't get it done from everyone on the team. When we lose, it's not just one part of our team."
McCants led the charge, making 7-of-9 shots. The 14th pick in June's draft established his previous high of 18 points in Tuesday night's loss at Chicago.
"Coach (Dwane Casey) is giving me a lot of confidence just to go out there and play," McCants said. "It's just a matter of time before I can go out there and turn it on and be comfortable out there on the court."
"It hasn't equaled into wins, but the growth process (McCants) is going to be phenomenal," Casey said. "I told him to keep it going and don't get complacent."
Justin Reed also came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Timberwolves, who won for just the fourth time in 14 games.
Reed's three-point play with 3:43 remaining capped a 13-8 surge and gave the Timberwolves an 85-77 lead. They led by at least seven points thereafter.
"My role is to do the small things, nothing else," Reed said. "If I am scoring, then that's a bonus for us."
"It was a solid game all-around," Timberwolves reserve guard Marcus Banks said. "KG (Kevin Garnett) had a big night, Justin and McCants had a great night off the bench. When everybody chips in like that it makes it a lot easier. They can't focus just on one or two guys."
Playing his first home game since tossing a ball into the stands that hit a fan in the face Sunday and drew a $5,000 fine from the NBA, Garnett had 26 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Timberwolves.
"They shot 67 percent in the first half and 55 percent for the game with 40 points in the paint," Frank said. "That's not really the trademark of how we want to play."
Ricky Davis added 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Minnesota, which took the lead for good in the second quarter by making 13-of-18 shots.
"We've really struggled in the second quarter the last couple games," Nets forward Richard Jefferson said. "(Tonight) we did OK in the first quarter, but then their bench comes in and we struggle. I'm not sure why, but we have to figure it out."
The Timberwolves shot 65 percent (22-of-34) in the first half en route to a 54-45 advantage.
"They came out with a great sense of urgency," Frank said. "It was the same old script for us. We fight back but then we have some empty possessions and they pull away."
Vince Carter scored 29 points, Jefferson had 25 and 11 rebounds and Jason Kidd added 20 points and nine assists for the Nets, who lost for the ninth time in 12 games on the road and fell to 13-18 away from home overall.
"The bottom line for us is defense," Kidd said. "It's not about our offense. It's always been about out defense. When we play good defense, we can compete with anybody. When we don't, that's when we find ourselves in a bad position."