The Minnesota Timberwolves are gaining some confidence and now
Kevin Garnett hopes some consistency will follow.

After a win over one of the NBA's best teams, the Timberwolves go for their third victory in a row when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Minnesota (15-15) has struggled with streaky play this season. The Timberwolves' two winning streaks of three or more games were both followed by losing streaks of at least three contests, and they've endured three skids of three or more games.

Minnesota hit a season-high 96.6 percent (28-for-29) of its free throws Wednesday, which proved key down the stretch in a 103-101 overtime win over San Antonio.

The Timberwolves have won five of their last seven games, but the two losses have come to Toronto and New Jersey, two teams that are well below .500.

"I don't think the big question here is 'Can we do it?' It's how often and how consistent can we be," Garnett said. "It's something we have to face every night, and we have to be able to answer that question wholeheartedly every night to be that."

Garnett has certainly been a steady force for the Timberwolves, starting all 30 games and recording a double-double in all but four of them. He had 27 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists Wednesday, which followed a 32-point, 14-rebound effort in a win at Charlotte on Monday.

Mark Blount scored 28 points and shot 12-of-14 against the Spurs while Randy Foye added 19 points off the bench for the Timberwolves, who tied a season low with 11 turnovers in winning their season-high third straight at home.

The Timberwolves have won four of their last five home games against the 76ers (9-23), and won 95-84 in Philadelphia on Dec. 3 to avoid a third straight loss in the series.

The 76ers are tied for the most road losses in the NBA with 16 and are 2-4 on their season-high seven-game trip. The road weary squad held Utah to 34 percent shooting in the first half Wednesday, but couldn't keep up that defensive pressure en route to a 98-87 defeat.

"In the second half, I thought they got a lot of easy baskets and wore us down," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We looked a little tired in the second half, but I liked our game."

The Sixers are also enjoying Andre Miller's game. The point guard was acquired along with Joe Smith on Dec. 19 in the trade that sent Allen Iverson to Denver, and is averaging 15.6 points, 8.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds in seven games with Philadelphia.

"Andre Miller fits in good because he's a point guard, something we need," Cheeks said. "He understands the game; he's helping our young guys out."

Smith had 13 points Wednesday in his second consecutive start for the Sixers, who are 4-5 since trading Iverson.

Philadelphia forward Chris Webber has been inactive for four games with a bruised foot, while Timberwolves guard Marko Jaric is probable after missing back-to-back contests due to a jammed thumb.


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