Garnett was kicked out in the second quarter of Minnesota’s game at Utah, and the Timberwolves were unable to hold on to a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Jazz’s 93-88 win Monday night.
“We were down seven points in the fourth quarter and our guys just kept playing and giving themselves a chance,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “Even though they lost Kevin Garnett, their other guys are capable of beating us.”
Maybe, but not the way the Jazz played Monday.
Matt Harpring scored 32 points and Greg Ostertag scored 12 and pulled down a career-best 21 rebounds. Raul Lopez had 15 points and eight assists in his second career start and Andrei Kirilenko scored 17 points for the Jazz, who were 10-for-20 in the fourth quarter while rallying for the win.
The Jazz also outrebounded Minnesota 53-33 and seemed to be fully recovered from a 127-102 loss at Dallas on Saturday. And after consecutive 1-4 starts the last two seasons, Utah is 2-1 in the post-John Stockton and Karl Malone era.
“We’re going to have our nights like Dallas the other night. But it’s how we come back. Everybody did a good job tonight, coming back and playing well,” said Ostertag, whose previous high for rebounds was 20 against Vancouver in 1996.
Minnesota, which led much of the second half even without Garnett, was just 7-for-23 in the fourth quarter.
“This was an early task to play without him. We did decent, but we didn’t win the game,” Cassell said. “I thought we had a chance to win the ballgame. … It happens that way sometimes.”
The game was physical all night and got a little nasty in the second half, which ended up favoring Utah.
Cassell and Jazz rookie Maurice Williams had a series of takedowns and Trent was called for a flagrant foul for shoving Kirilenko in the back as he drove for a layup. Kirilenko made both free throws, then was fouled by Trent again when the Jazz got the ball back and went 2-for-2 again to put the Jazz up 80-77 with 5:05 remaining.
On the next possession, Lopez grabbed a loose ball, sprinted the length of the court and passed to Harpring for a layup to cap a 15-3 run and Minnesota never recovered.
Garnett had 10 points before getting tossed with 5:20 left in the second quarter. He backed into Keon Clark on a layup and thought he was getting a chance at a three-point play. But the shot was waved off and Garnett complained to referee Jason Phillips during a timeout.
Minnesota coach Flip Saunders tugged at the back of Garnett’s jersey as the forward followed Phillips around the court, but Garnett didn’t back away.
Phillips then called a second technical foul on Garnett, prompting him to throw the ball into the stands while fans cheered the ejection.
“I’m just upset that I let the team down and we lost,” Garnett said. “Wegot outrebounded and lost the game. It’s not a good night.”
Carlos Arroyo missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Lopez got the start in his place and had six assists in the first quarter and hit a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired during an 13-0 run for Utah. … Sprewell was called for a technical with 2:47 left in the third quarter after hitting a 3-pointer, then said something in front of theJazz bench on his way back up the court.