Garnett scored a season-high 37 points on 17-of-27 shooting and matched a season high with 22 rebounds, leading the Timberwolves to a 109-102 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Minnesota tied a franchise record with its 12th straight home win and improved to 22-5 at the Target Center this season. The Timberwolves’ other 12-game winning streak here occurred over two seasons, from March 20, 1998 to February 22, 1999.
“Right now, we’re playing well,” Garnett said. “It was important for us to start off the second half with a nice rhythm. We’ve got to carry this over to Utah (on Monday) and the road. Hopefully, we can play with the same rhythm and confidence that we’ve been playing with at home.”
After opening a 98-80 lead with just over seven minutes left, Minnesota held off a rally down the stretch by Golden State, which got no closer than five in the final minute.
Garnett, who also scored 37 points in earning MVP honors in the All-Star Game, has led the Timberwolves in scoring in every game during their winning streak. He also grabbed 22 rebounds against Memphis on November 19.
“Those are some impressive numbers (for Garnett) - whew!” Minnesota forward Wally Szczerbiak said. “That’s a serious MVP-type effort there. He’s been playing super. He’s in a great rhythm and a great flow.”
Garnett was happier about his defense as he also blocked five shots and held Warriors leading scorer Antawn Jamison to six points on 3-of-14 shooting.
“I don’t really know my stats,” he said. “The first thing I look at is my opponent and what he did. Stats are not what it’s about, as long as we win. I don’t like turnovers and my man scoring a lot of points.”
Red-hot Gilbert Arenas scored 31 points for the Warriors, who had started the second half with three road wins over Eastern Conference opponents.
“We’re coming off a good road trip,” said Golden State coach Eric Musselman, whose club completed a 3-1 Eastern swing. “We’re not happy with tonight’s result. Garnett is a great player. He was the difference in the game.”
Arenas, the MVP of the Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend, averaged 28 points during the trip.
However, Arenas made just 11-of-26 shots against the Timberwolves as the Warriors shot under 40 percent (39-of-98). Golden State also committed 14 turnovers that Minnesota converted into 26 points.
Arenas, who made just 9-of-15 foul shots, led four players in double figures for the Warriors. Jason Richardson scored 18 points and rookie Mike Dunleavy and Erick Dampier chipped in with 13 and 11, respectively. Dampier also grabbed 11 rebounds.
“My jumper wasn’t falling,” Arenas said. “I couldn’t hit an outside shot, so I found a way to get to the free-throw line, and I couldn’t hit those either.”
Minnesota’s trio of Garnett, Szczerbiak and Troy Hudson combined for 74 points. Szczerbiak scored 23 and Hudson chipped in with 14 and 11 assists.
“(Garnett) was amazing out there,” Richardson said. “He seemed like he couldn’t miss. He had a great game. You have All-Stars like that, and they are going to have big nights. But you can’t let them have huge nights like that.”
Garnett recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds in the first half, helping the Timberwolves to a 56-47 lead.
“We’re coming out with confidence,” Hudson said. “We’re coming out, playing hard, showing a lot of trust with each other on both ends of the floor. That’s leading to our success at home.”
Minnesota shot 62 percent in the third quarter to extend its advantage to 90-75. Garnett scored 17 points and Szczerbiak 11 in the period.
The pair was held scoreless for the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter, and Golden State used a 17-4 spurt to close to 102-97 with 2:03 remaining. The Warriors had a chance to get closer but failed to convert on their next three possessions.