Timberwolves 98, Wizards 94

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—In a matchup of All-Stars, it was the Timberwolves’ supporting cast that made the difference.

Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 17 rebounds Sunday in leading Minnesota to a 98-94 victory over the Washington Wizards that ended a three-game slide.

Fellow All-Star Gilbert Arenas finished with 20 for the Wizards, but was harried into shooting 4-for-22 from the field. He had averaged 39 points in three games since the All-Star break.

Garnett got help from Ricky Davis, who scored 27 points, and Randy Foye, who had 13 points and eight assists. The Timberwolves beat Washington at home for the seventh straight season.

“I should expect that from those guys,” Garnett said. “Doing it on a consistent basis, that’s the challenge.”

Arenas went 11-for-12 from the foul line and DeShawn Stevenson scored 21 for Washington, which lost its second straight.

The Wizards played without All-Star forward Caron Butler, who missed the game with back spasms. He is second on the team in points (20.3) and rebounds (7.6) per game. Jarvis Hayes got the start and finished 1-for-10. Andray Blatche, the Wizards’ other starting forward, was 3-for-10 from the field.

“They just said, ‘Hey. We will just let those guys shoot and we will load up on Gil,”’ said Washington coach Eddie Jordan, who doesn’t know Butler’s status for Tuesday’s game in New Jersey.

Minnesota coach Randy Wittman was pleased with the way his team adjusted to shut down Arenas, after the guard scored 38 in a 112-100 win over the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

“That game we gave him too many wide angles to the basket, where there was nobody to impede,” he said. “Tonight we did a good a job as we’ve done in terms of clogging the lane.”

Davis spent much of the night guarding Arenas, but he wasn’t the only one to slow down the so-called “Agent Zero.”

“(Foye) took him, Mike (James) took him, we had all four or five guys there challenging him and making him take tough shots and he finishes 4-of-22,” Davis said. “Somebody had a hand in his face at all times.”

Even so, Arenas’ 3-pointer got the Wizards within five points midway through the fourth, and a three-point play by Brendan Haywood got Washington within three points 2 minutes later.

Jumpers by Garnett and Foye, and a free throw by Davis pushed the lead back to eight with 2:47 to play.

Foye hit a jumper for a seven-point Minnesota lead, but Arenas’ reverse layup was good on a goaltend. After an offensive foul on Minnesota, Stevenson hit a 3-pointer with 47.4 seconds remaining to make it 95-93.

Davis rebounded a Garnett miss with 27.7 seconds to play to keep the ball from Washington. Mark Blount missed two free throws, but Garnett grabbed the rebound, and Foye subsequently made two free throws with 13.1 seconds left.

“If we would have got a rebound at the end, it might be a different outcome. Maybe they wouldn’t have cut our hot water off,” Arenas said. Washington players had to take cold showers after the game. This came one day after the Wizards’ flight from Chicago was diverted to Duluth, Minn., and they had to bus approximately 160 miles to Minneapolis.

Tied at 60, Minnesota closed out the third quarter on a 17-6 run, including six apiece by Davis and Garnett, who had 13 points and five rebounds in the quarter.

Davis, who scored 24 Tuesday, ended the period with a three-quarter-court pass to Foye for an easy dunk.

“I though Ricky was aggressive on both ends all night,” Wittman said.

Down 36-29, Davis scored 11 points during an 18-3 Minnesota run, and Garnett had the other seven, for a 47-39 lead with 1:18 to play in the half.

The win was a confidence boost for the Timberwolves, who are two games into a four-game stretch against division leaders.

“We needed this because we’ve got the best team in the league (Dallas) coming in Tuesday,” Foye said. Utah is scheduled to visit Friday.

Notes

Washington’s last win in Minnesota was March 7, 2000. … Minnesota F Mark Madsen missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain. Wittman would not speculate on a return date. … Roger Mason had a season-high 13 points off the bench for the Wizards. … Garnett was assessed a technical foul late in the second quarter for arguing with an official. Arenas received the same early in the third. … Stevenson, who nicknamed himself “Mr. Fifty” earlier in the week because he entered the game making 50 percent of his shots, finished 9-for-12.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Washington
D. Stevenson D. Stevenson
9-12,  21 Pts
2 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Minnesota
K. Garnett K. Garnett
11-21,  26 Pts
17 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Sunday, Feb 25