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Minnesota drops fourth straight road game

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs found a good way to
beat Minnesota: take Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam
Cassell out of the Timberwolves' offense.

After a lethargic first half in which they fell behind by double
digits, the Spurs came out of the locker room with shooting
accuracy and tight defense to rally for a 96-82 win over Minnesota
on Thursday night.

Garnett managed just one basket in the second half and shot
4-for-16 in the game, while Sprewell and Cassell combined to go
4-for-13.

Despite the poor performance from their big-name players, the
Timberwolves shot 53 percent in the first half. After the break,
they made only 27 percent of their shots.

"We lost the game in the first two minutes of the second
half," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "Instead of
controlling the tempo, we let them take control of the game and get
back in it and they made it difficult to play them."

San Antonio made 11 of its 18 shots in the fourth quarter to
break open a tie game. Minnesota made only three of 14 shots in the
period.

"Sometimes Xs and Os are relative," said Manu Ginobili, who
led San Antonio with 22 points. "If you are aggressive and show
them that it won't be easy, I think that's where the game
changed."

Garnett said the Spurs helped themselves by quickening the pace,
but he also took some of the blame for not being more of an
offensive force when it counted.

"I take it upon myself to get guys shots and get guys in a
rhythm," said Garnett, who scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds.
"Maybe I sacrificed a little bit too much tonight."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also challenged struggling center
Rasho Nesterovic at halftime to step up his game.

Nesterovic, who missed all five of his shots and had only one
rebound in the first half, responded by making three baskets,
grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots during San
Antonio's comeback.

"Pop likes to use that to try to get you mad to make you react
and show him he's wrong," said Tony Parker, who had 19 points for
the Spurs.

Tim Duncan added 19 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.

Wally Szczerbiak had 22 for Minnesota, which dropped its fourth
straight road game. Troy Hudson added 14 points, and Michael
Olowokandi had 12 rebounds.

The Spurs, coming off a six-point loss Wednesday in Orlando in
which they missed 13 of 26 free throws, made 16 of 19 from the line
against Minnesota.

Ginobili hit a pair of 3-pointers as San Antonio opened up a
14-8 lead, their biggest of the first half.

The Timberwolves missed five of their first seven shots, but
then made 12 of their next 13 attempts.

Hudson made a 17-footer near the end of the first quarter for
his first basket. He followed with a layup and two 3-pointers to
start the second, and then found Mark Madsen for a three-point play
that put Minnesota ahead 40-28.

The Spurs got within 47-43 on a three-point play by Parker on a
drive, but Garnett made two free throws and a 15-footer to close
the half at 51-43.

Game notes
After giving up 22 points on turnovers in Wednesday's loss
to Orlando, San Antonio allowed only nine points on 10 turnovers.
... The 82 points matched Minnesota's season low. ... The
Timberwolves are 6-8 when scoring fewer than 100 points.