Timberwolves 116, Celtics 95

Preview | Box Score | Recap

BOSTON (AP)—Kevin Garnett is at a loss to explain the Minnesota Timberwolves’ home-court struggles and road-game success.

Sam Cassell had 27 points and nine assists and Garnett added 27 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota in a 116-95 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night, the Timberwolves’ fifth straight road victory.

“We’re in a rhythm on the road and I’m not sure why,” Garnett said. “For whatever reason, we’re playing better on the road right now. It’s unexplainable like a lot of things in this league.”

The win snapped Minnesota’s three-game losing streak against the Celtics and also ended Boston’s season-high five-game winning streak.

“They’ve got a very good team,” Boston’s Vin Baker said. “We pushed our way back, but they made some shots and it was tough for us to recover. They’re an excellent team, one of the better teams we’ve seen all year—if not the best team.”

Paul Pierce finished with 15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Celtics. Walter McCarty led Boston with 17 points.

Boston was without three players after making a trade with Cleveland prior to the game that sent Eric Williams, Tony Battie and Kedrick Brown to the Cavaliers for Ricky Davis, Chris Mihm and Michael Stewart.

Boston cut a seven-point halftime lead to 57-55 on Vin Baker’s layup one minute into the third quarter, but the Timberwolves responded with a 14-5 run over the next four minutes to take control. Latrell Sprewell and Cassell each scored four points in the spurt.

The Celtics were held to less than 100 points for the first time in seven games. The Timberwolves, who are 4-5 at home, improved to 10-4 on the road and have won 10 of their last 12 away from the Target Center.

Minnesota set a franchise record with 33 home victories last season and won 17 consecutive games at the Target Center.

“We’re shooting it extremely well and guys are playing with emotion on the road,” Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. “We’re just not playing nearly as well at home and we’ve got to change that and come out with some energy.”

Minnesota took a 16-point lead early in the second quarter on Fred Hoiberg’s jumper, but the Celtics cut the lead to 57-50 at the break on a pair of freethrows by Marcus Banks.

Notes

Boston center Raef LaFrentz had surgery on his right knee on Monday and is expected to miss the rest of the season. … Former Boston forward Cedric Maxwell’s No. 31 was retired in a halftime ceremony. … Garnett entered the game leading the league in rebounding at 14.3 per game. … Minnesota forward Mark Madsen missed his second straight game with back spasms. … Minnesota’s record for consecutive road wins is six, set in Jan. 2000. … The Timberwolves’ previous victory against Boston came on Feb. 1, 2002 at theFleetCenter.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Minnesota
K. Garnett K. Garnett
10-17,  27 Pts
12 Rebs, 7 Assists
 Boston
P. Pierce P. Pierce
6-18,  15 Pts
9 Rebs, 11 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists