Garnett, Szczerbiak knock out Knicks

Posted: Monday, March 03, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Garnett had 22 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, and Wally Szczerbiak added 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves won their seventh straight by beating the New York Knicks 99-90 Sunday.

Garnett finished one assist short of a triple-double for the second straight game for the Wolves, who won their 17th straight at home.

Szczerbiak scored 16 points in the first half, as the Wolves broke the game open early by shooting 57 percent in the first half to New York's 24 percent. Minnesota led by as many as 29 points in the first half, outscoring New York 52-21 after the Knicks took their only lead of the game at 4-2.

But Minnesota made only 12-of-34 shots in the second half and allowed the Knicks to chip away at the lead.

Allan Houston scored 21 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, including four 3-pointers.

The Wolves led by 20 after three quarters and by 14 with 4:40 to play, but Houston hit a 3-pointer with 1:47 left to pull New York within 86-80.

Anthony Peeler's first basket, a 3-pointer with 1:33 left, restored a nine-point lead, but Houston answered with a 3 of his own to make it 89-83 with 51 seconds left. He made a conventional three-point play with 33.5 seconds left to bring New York within 92-88.

The Wolves made eight of 10 free throws to seal the game in the final minute.

Houston finished 10-for-24 from the field, and teammate Latrell Sprewell was 2-for-14 and scored just six points. The Knicks have lost six in row on the road.

New York made only four of its first 25 shots. From the 10:30 mark of the first quarter to the 6:50 mark of the second, they made only two field goals. Sprewell and Houston combined to go 2-for-13 in first half.

Minnesota's starting frontcourt of Szczerbiak, Garnett and Rasho Nesterovic scored 27 of the team's 31 points in the first quarter.

Spurs 97, Rockets 88

HOUSTON -- Emanuel Ginobili scored a career-high 20 points and led five San Antonio players in double figures as the Spurs held off the Houston Rockets for a 97-88 victory Sunday.

The Spurs won for the 13th time in 14 games and improved their 2003 record to 22-4. Tim Duncan had 17 points, Tony Parker and Malik Rose each had 16, and David Robinson added points.

The Spurs never trailed and they were up 87-70 with 6:04 to play when the Rockets pulled within 94-88 with 52 seconds left. Glen Rice scored 11 of his 19 points in the final 5:43.

Steve Francis led the Rockets with 21 points, and Yao Ming had 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Spurs used a 12-4 run to build on their 51-39 advantage at halftime. Even an 11-1 run by the Rockets couldn't get their deficit under 10 points, and San Antonio kept Houston at bay and led 74-59 going into the fourth quarter.

Duncan and Parker peppered the Rockets defense in the first quarter and Ginobili scored nine points early in the second as the Spurs kept their big lead at halftime despite a late second-quarter 11-2 spurt by the Rockets.

Parker had 10 points in the first quarter and Duncan scored eight points to give the Spurs a 30-18 lead.

Heat 93, Wizards 83

MIAMI -- The Heat made nine consecutive shots in the second half and took advantage of a poor shooting night by Michael Jordan.

Jordan missed seven of his first eight attempts and finished 9-for-27, including two air balls. Playing with a wrap covering his right leg to protect a thigh bruise, he scored 21 points in 39 minutes.

Miami won even though leading scorer Eddie Jones played just 21 minutes because of foul trouble. He fouled out with 8:45 left.

Rookie Caron Butler led Miami with 20 points, and added nine rebounds and five assists. Brian Grant had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Bucks 120, Hawks 93

MILWAUKEE -- Sam Cassell and Gary Payton combined for 52 points and 17 assists for the Bucks.

Cassell finished with 28 points and seven assists before fouling out with 5:20 left. Payton added 24 points and 10 assists as Milwaukee stopped a three-game losing streak.

Atlanta's Glenn Robinson, playing his first game in Milwaukee since being traded by the Bucks in the offseason, led the Hawks with 24 points. Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 22 points and 12 rebounds.

Raptors 104, Celtics 92

TORONTO -- Vince Carter had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Antonio Davis scored 19 to lead five Raptors in double figures.

Boston's Antoine Walker had a season-high 38 points but was ejected after receiving two technical fouls in the last two minutes.

The Celtics were without Paul Pierce for the second straight game. Pierce, the NBA's fourth leading scorer, strained his lower back when he slipped on ice about a week ago.

Jazz 91, Nets 90

EAST RUTHEFORD, N.J. -- Andrei Kirilenko tipped in John Stockton's airball just before the final buzzer sounded for the Jazz. Utah snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the eighth straight time on New Jersey's home court. The Nets haven't beaten the Jazz at the Meadowlands since 1994.

With Utah trailing 90-89 following Kenyon Martin's shot from the lane with 14.1 seconds left, Stockton dribbled to the right baseline for a contested 14-footer over Martin. The shot was short, but Kirilenko got a hand on it and directed it in.

Karl Malone scored 20, DeShawn Stevenson added a career-high 18 and Kirilenko had 15 points. Martin scored 24 and Kerry Kittles had 21 for the Nets, who have lost four of their last five.

Magic 102, Cavaliers 76

CLEVELAND -- Tracy McGrady scored 28 points and rookie Gordan Giricek made two 3-pointers in Orlando's decisive third-quarter run.

McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer averaging 31.3 points, didn't have to play in the fourth quarter as the Magic improved to 4-1 since acquiring Giricek and fellow rookie Drew Gooden in a Feb. 19 trade with Memphis.

Giricek had 16 points and Gooden added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Trail Blazers 103, Pistons 86

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Bonzi Wells scored a career-high 37 points as the Trail Blazers handed the Pistons their seventh straight loss.

Wells went on a tear in the third quarter, scoring 18 points to help the Blazers pull away and win their fourth straight. His previous career high was 35, set last season at Minnesota.

The Pistons finished their West Coast road trip 0-5. They hadn't lost seven straight since Dec. 16-28, 2001, a streak that also began with five straight losses in the West.

76ers 100, Nuggets 94

DENVER -- Eric Snow scored 25 points and made seven free throws in the final minute as the 76ers won their season-high ninth straight game. Snow went 17-of-19 from the line, and the 76ers were 36-of-46 to move within three games of New Jersey for the Atlantic Division lead.

Allen Iverson scored 17 points, 10.2 below his average, before fouling out with 5:49 to play. He missed 11 of his 16 shots from the field.

Juwan Howard scored 25 points to lead the Nuggets, who lost their 12th straight.

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