Timberwolves Beat the Mavericks 114-109

Friday, December 19th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Kevin Garnett had 35 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and the burly Gary Trent scored a season-high 18 points and had 12 rebounds to help the Minnesota Timberwolves hold off Dallas 114-109 Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.

``The biggest surprise was Gary,'' Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. ``It was the best game the had this year. ... He's been more aggressive. He's not trying to rely on just being a jump-shooter. He's using his quickness and his strength.''

In the only other NBA games Thursday night, Sacramento beat New Orleans 101-90, and Portland held off Phoenix 101-94.

Steve Nash (27 points) and Antawn Jamison (22) accounted for all but four of the Mavericks' fourth-quarter points.

``I thought Gary Trent was the key to the game,'' Dallas coach Don Nelson said. ``We were helping on Garnett, and he found holes in our defense because of it and hurt us on the offensive boards.''

The Wolves, who wasted a 13-point lead in a 92-88 loss at Dallas on Nov. 29, improved to 4-4 against Western Conference teams and pulled even with Denver in the Midwest. All seven teams are within three games of each other.

``It's a dogfight in this division _ we just trying to scratch and claw our way through it,'' said Sam Cassell, who added 26 points for the Timberwolves.

Minnesota, which won its second straight at home after losing five of its first nine at Target Center, led most of the game _ until Nash hit a pull-up 3-pointer that put the Mavericks back in front, 99-98 with 5:07 left.

Garnett _ who had his 13th career triple-double _ made back-to-back baskets, though, and the Wolves pulled away. Cassell buried a 3-pointer with 3:03 left to make it 105-100. Trent and Trenton Hassell both grabbed key rebounds down the stretch.

With Wally Szczerbiak, Troy Hudson and Michael Olowokandi all hurt, Minnesota's role players have been important.

``We've got to contribute to this team, whether it's playing defense, rebounding or hitting open shots,'' Hassell said.

Trent was 7-for-7 from the floor.

``I was just feeding off the offense,'' he said. ``When they double Kevin, I'd just drive to the hole.''

Games between these two teams are always marked by plenty of contact and feisty play, and this night was no exception. The Wolves, and their fans, howled about several calls and non-calls, and the Mavericks contributed their share of complaints.

``Imagine if we had a home-and-home against them,'' Cassell said. ``We'd be exhausted.''

Dallas was anyway, having played in Boston the night before. The Mavericks play Minnesota on the second night of back-to-back games all four times this season.

``Everybody's down on themselves,'' Danny Fortson said, ``because this is a tough stretch for us.''

Dallas dropped to 3-9 on the road after falling to the Celtics Wednesday night.

``As long as a team plays up to its potential, I have no complaint about wins or losses,'' Nelson said, showing some pity for his tired team. ``This was one of those games.''

Kings 101, Hornets 90

At New Orleans, Brad Miller missed a triple-double by an assist, finishing with 21 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Mike Bibby added 19 points, Bobby Jackson had 18 and Peja Stojakovic 17 for Sacramento. Baron Davis led New Orleans with 23.

Trail Blazers 101, Suns 94

At Portland, Ore., Zach Randolph had 29 points and 20 rebounds to lead Portland past Phoenix.

Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace each added 15 points for the Trail Blazers. Shawn Marion had 20 points for the Suns.