Timberwolves 25 Throwback: Kevin Garnett's First Start Of His Career

Timberwolves 25 Throwback: Kevin Garnett's First Start Of His Career



Editor’s Note: Throughout the 2013-14 season, Timberwolves.com will highlight some of the most significant moments in the team's history as part of the Timberwolves' 25th season celebration. These articles will be written as they would have been in that particular year if Timberwolves.com was around at the time. Today we flash back to Jan. 9, 1996, which was the first Kevin Garnett's first career start.

Cristy Brusoe
Web Editorial Assistant

Email / Twitter

NBA rookie Kevin Garnett ran out of the tunnel with his team, participated in pre-game warm ups and took a seat on the bench, as he had the previous 31 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

However, Tuesday night brought a bit of a twist for the 19-year-old rookie fresh out of high school and a glimpse of a new era for the Wolves organization. As the lights went down, the opening line-ups were announced.

“And at forward… standing at 6’11, 220 pounds from Farragut Academy… Kevin Garnett!”

For the very first time… Kevin Garnett heard his name announced as a member of the starting line-up in front of a crowd of 10,755 fans. Garnett, was set to replace Sam Mitchell at the small forward spot, which ended 23 consecutive starts for the six-year veteran.

Garnett’s starting opportunity comes after having scored nine points and grabbing five rebounds in Sunday night’s 113-87 loss to Portland.

Prior to the game, Minnesota coach Flip Saunders explained the change as, “a flip-flop of roles.” Saying, “Now is as good a time as any to put Kevin out there. He’s a high-energy guy and we need a little bit of that.”

The Wolves went into the matchup with the Lakers with 8-23 record and a lack of stability. Kevin looked to restore that after averaging 6.3 points per game and 6 rebounds off the bench.

However, the Lakers (18-17) were clutch throughout the game behind the efforts of veteran Cedric Ceballos, who lit-it-up scoring 29 points.

Through three quarters of play, Garnett kept the game within reach, scoring nine points and collecting six rebounds. His starting game experience was cut short in the fourth quarter when he cut his hand on a dunk.

The Lakers took advantage and never let the Wolves back in it. With 1.3 seconds left in the contest, Lakers guard Eddie Jones drew a foul on Tom Gugliotta and sank two free throws. This put the Lakers up two and awarded them with the 106-104 victory.

Christian Laettner was the quiet leader, putting up 29 points and pulling down nine boards. Terry Porter accounted for 10 of the team’s assists. But, the team as a whole only shot the ball at 46 percent from the field.

The Lakers, meanwhile, shot 54 percent from the field and made 90 percent of their free throw shots, going 18-20.

The loss is another gut-wrenching one for the Wolves after a series of close games this season. However, there was indeed a glimpse of what the future has in store for the team while watching the presence and play of the young Garnett.

 

  1 2 3 4 Final
Lakers 27 22 25 32 106
Wolves 32 14 32 26 104

 


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