2005 - 06 A Season of Change

The Wolves' 2005-06 campaign was marked by changes both in its roster and its head coaching position. Prior to the season tip off, Dwane Casey was named head coach on June 17 of 2005, Marko Jaric replaced Sam Cassell at the point after a trade with the L.A. Clippers, and Minnesota selected guard Rashad McCants from North Carolina with the 14th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Minnesota started off the season with a 90-86 victory over Portland, which was the 11th consecutive victory in a home opener for the franchise, and ended up going 7-6 for the month of November. Kevin Garnett continued to show that he was one of the NBA's best players, leading the Wolves to a sweep of a four-game West Coast swing to begin the month of December.

The season of change continued in January of 2006, when a blockbuster trade sent Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, Dwayne Jones and a future first-round draft choice to Boston for Ricky Davis, Marcus Banks, Mark Blount, Justin Reed and two conditional second-round picks (2006 and 2008). Like any team with so much change might, the team struggled to gel, going 3-10 in February as the Wolves battled to find an identity.

As the team had throughout the year, Minnesota had difficulty winning on the road in the second half of the season, losing its 13th straight on the road in early April. However, bright spots were noticeable, particularly when the Wolves began the season's final month with their fifth straight home victory and ninth in 11 contests at the Target Center with a 106-104 overtime win against Golden State (Apr. 1). Meanwhile, Ricky Davis continued his solid all-around play while ranking fourth in the NBA in minutes played, and McCants emerged as a dangerous scoring talent in the absence of an injured Garnett. The Timberwolves went 9-17 in March and April to finish the season with a 33-49 record, but looked ahead eagerly towards the following season with hope. Reasons to look towards an improved team included a high pick in the coming NBA Draft (Randy Foye), free agency (Mike James), a healthy and rested Garnett, a head coach in his second year and a team that was beginning to realize how to play together.


NOVEMBER (7-6) The Wolves embarked upon the 2005-06 season with a different look, acquiring point guard Marko Jaric in the off-season from the L.A. Clippers. The Wolves also selected guard Rashad McCants from North Carolina 14th overall in the 2005 NBA draft, while picking guard Bracey Wright from Indiana 47th overall. Minnesota tipped off the season with a 90-86 win over Portland on Nov. 2 at Target Center, marking the franchise’s sixth consecutive Opening Day win and 11th consecutive victory in a Home Opener. Minnesota hit the road after the opening day win and fell to Seattle, 107-102, in overtime on Nov. 4. After losing their next game to the L.A. Clippers (Nov. 5) at STAPLES Center, the Wolves won two straight at home with a 93-78 victory over the Clippers on Nov. 7, and an 88-74 triumph against the L.A. Lakers two days later. Minnesota dropped its next two outings at Denver (Nov. 13) and vs. Houston (Nov. 15), respectively, but got two back with home victories against Washington (109-98) on Nov. 17 and Charlotte (102-89) on Nov. 19, pushing the Wolves’ record to 5-4. After losing to New Orleans/Oklahoma City, 84-80, (Nov. 23) at the Ford Center, Minnesota picked up their first road victory, defeating the Cleveland, 89-85, on Nov. 26. Despite LeBron James’ 38 points, the Wolves willed the victory behind Kevin Garnett’s key jumper in the final minute. After the win against Cleveland, Minnesota ranked second in the league in field goal percentage at 47.4%. The Wolves rounded out the month with a 93-84 loss to the Clippers on Nov. 29 at Target Center.

DECEMBER (7-7, 14-13) Minnesota began December with a four-game West Coast swing. After defeating the Lakers on Dec. 2, the Wolves went on to beat Sacramento (Dec. 4), Utah (Dec. 5) and Portland (Dec. 7). The perfect four-game road-trip marked the second time in franchise history the team accomplished such a feat. The Wolves also improved to a league-best 6-1 in games decided by 10+ points. Minnesota returned home Dec. 10 and extended their win-streak to five games, beating the Lakers 95-82 for their ninth win in 11 contests. The Wolves followed up their five-game winning streak with a 90-89 overtime loss at Philadelphia then dropped consecutive home games to Sacramento (Dec. 13), San Antonio (Dec. 15) and on the road to Dallas (Dec. 18). Minnesota returned to Target Center for a four-game home stand on Dec. 21, defeating New Orleans/Oklahoma City, 88-69, holding the Hornets to an opposing team season low point total. The Wolves concluded the home stand with losses to Portland (Dec. 23) and Phoenix (Dec. 26) before picking up a 108-95 victory against Seattle (Dec. 28), in which Garnett broke out for 26 points (10-of-13), 10 rebounds and six assists, helping the Wolves to their best shooting night of the season (.581%). Minnesota finished the calendar on the road with a loss to Orlando (Dec. 30).

JANUARY (7-9, 21-22) The Wolves rang in the New Year on the road, with four of their first five games in January away from Target Center. Minnesota's lone win in the first five games of the month came in their only home game during that stretch, against the Dallas Mavericks (Jan. 4). In that game three of Minnesota’s starters scored 20 or more points, led by Kevin Garnett (23 points). The losses during that five-game stretch came at Miami (Jan. 1), San Antonio (Jan. 6), Dallas (Jan. 7) and Milwaukee (Jan. 10). The Wolves followed a rough beginning to the New Year with two straight wins at Target Center against Chicago (Jan. 11) and Denver (Jan. 13). In the win against the Bulls, Garnett was one assist shy of a triple double as he blew up for 28 points and 14 rebounds. Minnesota continued their hot streak with a 96-90 win against New York at Madison Square Garden (Jan. 16), in which Garnett had 24 points and 16 rebounds, improving the Wolves record to 18-17 overall. Minnesota finished up a two-game East Coast swing with a loss to Boston (Jan. 18). The team returned home and began a three-game home stand with a victory over Indiana (Jan. 20), aided by Eddie Griffin’s 17 points and season-high 14 rebounds. Following the win against the Pacers, the Wolves were deflated when Andre Iguodala tossed in a shot at the buzzer to lead Philadelphia past the Wolves 86-84 (Jan. 22). Minnesota finished the home stand with a loss to Detroit (Jan. 24) before hitting the road and losing to Memphis (Jan. 25). The Wolves went through a major facelift on Jan. 26, acquiring guards Ricky Davis and Marcus Banks, forward Justin Reed and center Mark Blount from Boston in exchange for forward Wally Szczerbiak, forward Dwayne Jones, center Michael Olowokandi and a future first round draft pick. In the first game with the new-look, the Wolves defeated Houston at the Toyota Center (Jan. 27) with newcomer Davis scoring 26 points to accompany Garnett’s 26. Minnesota followed up the win with a loss at San Antonio (Jan. 28), and then returned home to close out the month by routing the Celtics 110-85 on Jan. 30. Banks scored 20 points off the bench in his first game against his former team.

FEBRUARY (3-10, 24-32) The Wolves lost seven of their first eight games in February as the new team battled to find an identity. After three consecutive road losses to Detroit (Feb. 1), Portland (Feb. 3) and Golden State (Feb. 4), the Wolves picked up a win in Phoenix on Feb. 6. Minnesota led by two with time winding down and Garnett swatted Shawn Marion’s potential game-tying floater at its peak to preserve the win. However, the Wolves then piled up four consecutive home losses to Cleveland (Feb. 8), Utah (Feb. 10), New Orleans/Oklahoma City (Feb. 11) and Toronto (Feb. 13). Halting the four-game losing streak, Minnesota defeated Seattle 102-92 at home (Feb. 15), led by Davis’ 25-point effort and 23 points and 15 boards from Garnett. The Wolves then headed East for a one-game stint, losing to Washington (Feb. 21). The Wolves returned home on Feb. 24 only to lose a heartbreaker to Denver. Minnesota came back from a 99-95 deficit to take a 101-99 lead with six seconds remaining, but Carmelo Anthony hit a three-pointer with three seconds left to win the game as he fell out of bounds into the Wolves’ bench. Minnesota followed the Denver loss with a 105-99 win at Target Center against Memphis (Feb. 26), in which Davis scored a season-high 35 points. Minnesota closed the month with a loss at Chicago (Feb. 28).

MARCH (6-10, 30-42) Minnesota began March opening a three-game home stand with consecutive wins against New Jersey (Mar. 1) and Golden State (Mar. 5); the Wolves’ first stretch of back-to-back victories since winning three straight from Jan. 11-16. The Wolves had no answer to Yao Ming’s 30 points as they closed out the home stand with a loss Houston (Mar. 7). The next day, Minnesota embarked on their longest road trip of the season, heading west for six games. The trip did not turn out in the Wolves favor, as they lost all six contests beginning with a 96-93 loss to Utah (Mar. 8). They followed that loss with setbacks at Seattle (Mar. 10), Phoenix (Mar. 11), the L.A. Clippers (Mar. 13), the L.A. Lakers (Mar. 15) and Golden State (Mar. 16). The Wolves returned home in winning fashion, avenging their previous loss to Sacramento, defeating the Kings 95-89 on Mar. 19. Kevin Garnett scored a team-season-high 37 points in that outing. Minnesota followed up the Sacramento win with their second-straight home victory, this time handing Miami Heat only its second loss in 17 games (Mar. 21). The Wolves hit the road again losing their first outing of a brief two-game road trip at New Jersey (Mar. 23). Minnesota next took on Toronto and suffered their worst loss to the Raptors in franchise history in a 97-77 defeat. The Wolves returned home and defeated New York, 98-94, on Mar. 26. Minnesota followed up with a home win over Orlando Magic, 103-91, on Mar. 31. Garnett led the Wolves with 27 points and 19 boards, while Ricky Davis contributed 26 points and 10 assists. The Wolves completed the month with a loss at Denver (Mar. 31).

APRIL (3-7, 33-49) The Timberwolves began the final month of the campaign with their fifth straight home victory and ninth in 11 contests at Target Center with a 106-104 overtime win against Golden State (Apr. 1). Marcus Banks led the Wolves with 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds. The Wolves hit the road for another two-game road trip, dropping games at Charlotte (Apr. 4) and Atlanta (Apr. 5). The Wolves lost to the Hawks on Josh Childress’ buzzer-beating lay up. Garnett had another big game, posting 27 points and 15 rebounds, while Ricky Davis contributed 33 points, including a game tying shot with less than three seconds remaining. The loss was the Wolves’ 13th straight on the road. Minnesota returned home to drop a game to Utah (Apr. 7), snapping the team's five-game Target Center winning streak. The Wolves then exacted a measure of revenge on the Hawks, beating them 84-83 on a Trenton Hassell last second shot at Target Center on Apr. 9. Kevin Garnett snapped his league-leading 351 consecutive games started streak, sitting out due to tendinitis. McCants scored a career-high 28 points in Garnett’s absence, leading the Wolves to victory. The Wolves followed up the victory over Atlanta with a 76-92 loss to Memphis on Apr. 11 at the FedEx Forum. Mark Blount led the Wolves in the loss with 14 points and eight rebounds. Minnesota traveled next to Houston, where they beat the Rockets 82-79 at the Toyota Center. The Wolves overcame a 10-point halftime deficit behind Mark Blount’s team-high 16 points. The Rockets scored only 10 points in the final quarter. Minnesota wrapped up its final road trip of the season on Apr. 14 with an 89-77 loss to Indiana at Conseco Fieldhouse. In that game, Eddie Griffin posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Returning home for its final two games of the season, Minnesota opened up with a 103-90 loss to San Antonio on Apr. 16. Marcus Banks tallied 25 points and five rebounds in the loss. Minnesota wrapped up the 2005-06 season with a 102-92, double-overtime loss to Memphis. Rookie Bracey Wright registered a career-high 19 points, while Griffin recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Wolves closed out their 17th season with a 33-49 record.

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