Minnesota (50-24) at Houston (42-30)

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  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Mon Mar 29, 2004
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The Minnesota Timberwolves have eight games remaining. They only need to win one of them to tie the franchise record for victories in a season.

After clinching their third straight 50-win season Saturday, the Timberwolves will try to match the team record set last season when they visit the Houston Rockets.

Kevin Garnett, who had 17 points and 15 rebounds in Saturday’s 98-82 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, said Minnesota is well-equipped to make a run in the playoffs this season.

“I think it shows maturity and it shows growth, and it shows the kind of potential that we have to be a good team,” Garnett said. “We’re making strides. Every year is a progression. We’ve just got to continue to stay hungry. As much as we’ve been knocked out of the first round, we’ve still been able to get better each year.”

The Timberwolves have lost in the first round in each of the past seven seasons.

Latrell Sprewell led the Timberwolves with 18 points Saturday. It was the third time this season Minnesota did not have a 20-point scorer, but five Timberwolves scored in double figures.

Garnett, who was disappointed with a 17-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, said he made a concerted effort to get everyone involved on offense.

“The difference between last night and tonight was energy,” Garnett said. “I know I wasn’t happy with the way I played last night, and that kind of stuck with me all day.

“So I just came in tonight with aggressive thoughts and tried to assert myself and be more vocal. I wanted to make a more valiant effort to get everybody from A to Z involved and into the game.”

The Rockets, who are currently seventh in the Western Conference, have won three of their last four. Each win has come in overtime.

“The game is not 48 minutes for us, it is a 53-minute game now,” said Yao Ming, who had 27 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in Sunday’s 111-107 victory over Milwaukee.

Steve Francis finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets, who overcame a nine-point deficit with less than five minutes remaining in regulations.

Cuttino Mobley and Maurice Taylor each added 19 points.

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