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.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Miller’s Late Shot Carries Kings


Brad Miller hit a 20-foot jumper with 25 seconds remaining to give the Sacramento Kings their first road win of the season, a 113-111 triumph over the Phoenix Suns.

Sacramento held a 100-87 lead with eight minutes left before Steve Nash sparked a comeback by Phoenix. He sank consecutive baskets to bring the Suns within 110-109 with 44 seconds left.

Miller's bucket gave the Kings a 112-109 edge. After a pair of free throws by Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire, Doug Christie missed 1-of-2 from the foul line, giving Phoenix one last opportunity to win.

The Suns did not call their last timeout and raced upcourt, only to have Shawn Marion miss a leaner in the lane and Joe Johnson miss an open 13-footer.

"I had some good looks. It just wasn't going in," Marion said. "It just happens like that sometimes. They don't always go in."

Chris Webber had a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, Peja Stojakovic scored a season-high 23 points and Mike Bibby added 20 for the Kings, who had lost their first four road games.

"Its really big because we have about 12 days at home," Webber said "I think we have an unfair record, But everyone could say that. We opened three arenas - Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. So it's good for us to get a road win."

"They are a really tough team to guard," Kings coach Rick Adelman said "But we played so much better offensively tonight than we have been. They made their run like teams at home are going to make runs at you."

There were 19 lead changes before the Kings went on a 10-0 run to open a 94-82 lead with 10:41 remaining.

"The difference compared to our previous games was patience and energy for all 48 minutes," Stojakovic said. "We know we'd have to accomplish that against this team, running the floor, taking care of the transition defense."

Stoudemire and Nash scored 29 points apiece and Marion added 14 and 15 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost two in a row following a 4-0 start. Phoenix has lost 12 of its last 17 meetings with Sacramento.

"We made a lot of good decisions and plays down the stretch offensively to get back in the game," Nash said. "We lost to a good team. They made us pay offensively and we certainly didn't get many bounces, either."