Monday, November 29, 2004

Wolves Snap Kings’ Streak


The clocks were off the last few minutes. Sam Cassell and Kevin Garnett were not.

Cassell and Garnett combined to score 11 straight points down the stretch as the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped the Sacramento Kings' seven-game winning streak with a 121-110 victory at Arco Arena.

The two teams have had a penchant for tight games over the years, including several overtime affairs and an all-time 30-30 record coming into the game. The trend continued in this one.

Sacramento trailed by just 106-104 after Bobby Jackson made a layup and free throw with 2:52 remaining. But the clocks stopped working, causing a delay of about five minutes, and eventually were turned off.

"The referees did a good job letting us know how much time was left," Cassell said. "We made some shots and executed our offense."

"Technical difficulties are out of everybody's hands, including the guys running the clock," Garnett added. "It's part of (the game)."

When play resumed, Jackson and Garnett nailed back-to-back jumpers, Jackson a 3-pointer and two free throws and Garnett a pair from the line to open a 115-104 cushion with 1:08 left.

"They hit some tough shots (after the clock malfunction), especially Sam Cassell," Kings guard Mike Bibby said. "We contested them but they were still going in."

Garnett collected 28 points and 16 rebounds, Cassell scored 25 points and reserve Eddie Griffin 20 for Minnesota, which was meeting Sacramento for the first time since winning their Western Conference semifinal series in seven games last season.

"Sam understands everything starts (with him)," Garnett said. "He and I were just sharing, making sure everybody got a touch. Tonight it was a collective win from everybody."

The oft-troubled Griffin, acquired prior to the start of the season, contributed made a season-high four 3-pointers as the Kings dared him to make shots.

"I feel comfortable shooting the three, stretching the defense," said Griffin, who shot 4-of-5 from the arc and 7-of-15 overall. "That's what they expect out of me."

Garnett welcomed the new offensive threat.

"Eddie's not your typical big man. He can shoot the three very well, he's unselfish," Garnett commented. "He's definitely made our team better, more versatile."

The Kings, who lost for the first time in seven games at Arco Arena this season, have lost four straight regular-season games to the Timberwolves, including three here.

Sacramento was in danger of being blown out in the first half after Minnesota's Fred Hoiberg nailed a long three to make it 41-31 with 10:34 left in the second quarter. But the Kings would ride the hot shooting of Bibby and Peja Stojakovic to pull within 61-60 at intermission, shooting 57 percent in the half.

Chris Webber contributed 25 points and 10 rebounds and Bibby and Stojakovic 22 points apiece for Sacramento.

Minnesota tied a season high for points in a quarter with 36 in the fourth and was a blistering 60 percent (9-of-15) from the arc.

"You give up 36 points in the last quarter, you're not going to win very many games," Kings Coach Rick Adelman said.

Timberwolves center Michael Olowokandi played 16 minutes, collecting four points, in his return to action following a team imposed two-game suspension after being arrested at an Indianapolis nightclub last week.

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