Wolves Edge Kings to Snap Seven-Game Slide
Minnesota 95, Sacramento 89
MINNEAPOLIS, March 19 (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves finally had a bounce go their way.
Garnett had a season-high 37 points and 10 rebounds for his 23rd straight double-double as the Timberwolves ended a season-high seven-game losing streak with a 95-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
"Did we get a monkey off our back?" Garnett asked. "It was a gorilla! Obviously we didn't play well on the road, so (head coach Dwane) Casey really stressed that we needed to establish ourseives at home. And we did."
Garnett's streak of double-doubles is the longest in the NBA since Charles Barkley also had 23 in a row in 1987. He leads the NBA in rebounding at 12.4 per game and in double-doubles with 52.
"He's a great player," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "Tonight he made the plays that they had to have made, especially down the stretch."
A driving layup by Hassell gave Minnesota an 86-79 lead with 1:26 to play. Mike Bibby answered with a driving layup before Ron Artest stole a pass and appeared to be headed for an easy basket. But he temporarily lost control of his dribble and the ball bounced off the referee's foot right to Minnesota guard Anthony Carter.
"(The official) got in the way by mistake and the ball hit his foot," Artest said. "It was one of those games. We'll get it back, though."
Garnett made a jumper to restore the seven-point lead. He scored nine points in the final 38 seconds and Minnesota needed them all, especially after Artest stripped Ricky Davis and went in for a layup that made it 91-89 with 10 seconds to play.
"They tried to play Garnett straight up," Davis said. "He's been facing double-teams for the last 20 games. It's tough to get your game on when they play you like that. But tonight he had a great game."
A basket by Bonzi Wells capped a 9-0 burst and pulled the Kings into a 67-67 tie early in the fourth quarter. The Wolves responded with nine straight points - five from Garnett and four from Justin Reed - to take the lead for good.
"I just watched a lot of our games from the road trip," said Garnett, who scored 28 points in the second half. "We haven't been coming out with energy in the second half, so one of the things I wanted to do tonight was to stay agressive late in the game."
A jumper by Reed and a basket by rookie Rashad McCants made it 82-71 with 4:54 left.
McCants scored 11 points and Mark Blount added 10 for the Wolves, who shot 48 percent (38-of-79) from the field.
"We still had some breakdowns," Casey said. "But in the end we did more good things than bad. It has been like an avalanche (the past few games), but tonight we fought back."
Mike Bibby scored 35 points and fellow guard Kevin Martin added 18 for the Kings, who played one of their worst games in some time. Sacramento shot just 42 percent (31-of-74) and committed a staggering 28 turnovers, equal to the league season high.
"We played absolutely awful," said Brad Miller. "The only reason the score was close is because they had a bunch of turnovers, too."
Minnesota and Sacramento combined to commit 49 turnovers, also a league season high.
"We shot poorly, turned the ball over. We didn't play well," Adelman said. "Twenty-eight turnovers and 13 assists? That's usually opposite for us. That sums it up for me. Can't say much more than that."
The Kings (33-33) remained tied for seventh in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers (34-34).