NBA Game Summary - Houston at Minnesota
(Sunday, March 20th)
Final Score: Minnesota 94, Houston 86
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Kevin Garnett poured in 30 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and handed out six assists to lead Minnesota to a 94-86 win over Houston at the Target Center.
Wally Szczerbiak finished with 20 points and Sam Cassell came off the bench to score 18 for the Timberwolves, who snapped their two-game losing streak.
"I'm still struggling out there a little bit, but it feels pretty good," said Cassell. "I just got to try and find that comfort zone. I want to help give us a winning streak that we desperately need."
Yao Ming had 21 points and Tracy McGrady added 15 points and seven boards for the Rockets, who have dropped two straight following a six-game winning streak.
Minnesota jumped out to an early six-point lead and widened the gap to 21-13 on Szczerbiak's jumper late in the period. The Timberwolves eventually increased the margin to nine and held a 25-16 cushion after one.
Cassell's two free throws with around 8 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter ballooned the Minnesota lead to 37-21. Houston did shrink the deficit to 50-41 on Yao's free throw late in the period, but the Timberwolves took a 57-44 lead into the locker room.
Szczerbiak netted 16 points for Minnesota, while Yao had 13 for the Rockets in the first half.
The Timberwolves distanced themselves in the third quarter as they began the period on an 11-1 spurt. Garnett keyed the run with nine points and his jumper with around seven minutes left capped the flurry and made it 68-45. Minnesota enjoyed a hefty 82-62 edge after 36 minutes.
Houston tried to get back into the game in the fourth as the club used a lengthy 15-2 spurt to close within 86-77 with just over six minutes left. During the run, Jon Barry and Ryan Bowen both scored four points as the Rockets erased a 20-point hole and trimmed the gap to nine.
The Timberwolves, though, settled down and increased the gap to a seemingly comfortable 13 points in the waning minutes. Houston again tried to make a late comeback as Mike James' layup with 55 seconds remaining made it 92-85, but they would not get any closer.
"We were trying hard so it makes us look a little bit better, but that's a blowout loss and the score means little," said Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy. "That was a 25 to 30-point loss if they would not have tried to get cute with that small lineup. If they would have stuck with their lineup they would have beaten us by 30 tonight."
Garnett ended 11-of-12 from the foul line...James scored 13 points...The T- Wolves were a solid 21-of-24 from the foul line, compared to Houston, which was only 32-of-47 from the charity stripe...Minnesota has taken two of the three meetings this season...This marked the first time in the last five matchups that the home team won.
03/20 22:56:24 ET