The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off their most impressive win of the season thanks to their best player.
The Los Angeles Clippers got their No. 1 star back in the lineup Friday, but endured their worst loss of the season.
Garnett made consecutive 3-pointers to force overtime Friday at Sacramento and Minnesota went on for a 112-109 victory, halting the Kings’ regular-season home winning streak at 17 games.
“I’m not afraid to take any shot,” said Garnett, who made all three of his 3-point tries after hitting only one in the season’s first 18 games.
Playing 50 minutes, Garnett had 33 points, a career-high 25 rebounds and six assists as Minnesota improved to 3-1 on its road trip.
“He can do anything he wants,” teammate Sam Cassell said of Garnett. “He’s that good. I’ve never seen anything like those 3-pointers in my life. How are you going to stop that? He’s 7-foot-5!”
Garnett, actually 6-11, is averaging 23.4 points—fourth-best in the NBA— and is the league’s top rebounder at 14.6 per game.
He now matches up with Brand, who had not played since the season opener due to a broken foot. The former Duke standout returned to the Clippers on Friday but apparently did not have a positive effect as the team was held to its lowest point total of the season in an 86-67 loss at Utah.
Brand, who missed 13 games, had 13 points and three rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles, which had been coming off back-to-back wins over San Antonio and Cleveland.
The Clippers shot 35.7 percent from the field Friday, including 2-of-15 from 3-point range, and had only 13 assists.
“We did not perform well at all,” said guard Quentin Richardson, who went 3-of-19 from the floor. “We just didn’t execute well, we didn’t defend well. We didn’t play the way we are used to and we let them outrebound us.”
This game was supposed to mark center Michael Olowokandi’s return to Los Angeles, but he was a last-minute scratch Friday due to knee tendinitis and is expected to miss at least two weeks. The Clippers made Olowokandi the top pick in the 1998 draft and he spent five mostly disappointing seasons with them before signing with Minnesota.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 5): Timberwolves - 5th place, 2 GB, Midwest Division. Clippers - 7th place, 8 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Timberwolves - Garnett, 23.4 ppg and 14.6 rpg; Cassell, 7.1 apg. Clippers - Maggette, 19.9 ppg; Brand, 9 rpg; Jaric, 3.7 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Timberwolves, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 22; Timberwolves, 103-91. At Minneapolis, Garnett had 30 points and 19 rebounds as Minnesota overcame a career-high 36 points by Richardson.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Timberwolves - 7-4 on the road; Clippers - 4-4 at home.