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Spree scores 22 of his 32 in third quarter

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Latrell Sprewell has gotten over the flu, as
he showed Wednesday night.

Sprewell scored a season-high 32 points, including 22 in the
third quarter, to lead Minnesota to a 104-87 victory over the
Atlanta Hawks.

"I was just making shots," said Sprewell, who was 5-for-8 from
3-point range. "One of those games when the ball was falling in
and things came easy in the third quarter."

Sprewell had a total of nine points and one rebound in the
previous three games while battling the flu.

"With the illness and everything, he's been frustrated," said
Randy Wittman, who coached in place of Flip Saunders, who was home
because of the flu. "But, Spree got it going tonight and we fed
off him."

"It's all about tonight and this game," said Sprewell when
asked about his recent struggles. "To say how frustrated I was is
really a moot point at this juncture."

Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the
Timberwolves, who have won four straight. Wally Szczerbiak added 18
points and Fred Hoiberg scored 12.

Saunders missed the return of Sam Cassell, who came back from a
hamstring injury to play for the first time since Jan. 7 and had
four points and eight assists.

"It was a good game for Sam," Wittman said. "Number one is,
he didn't feel a twinge."

"I feel great," Cassell said afterward. "I wanted to start
tonight, it was their (coaches) decision."

Al Harrington had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Antoine Walker
scored 15 points for the Hawks, who have lost five of six and fell
to 2-16 on the road. Tyronn Lue added 13 points and Tony Delk had
12.

"We're going through some growing pains," Harrington said.

"It's frustrating, but I'm in the ship right with them," said
head coach Mike Woodson. "I've got to keep pushing and keep
working because it's on me."

Sprewell was 12-for-18 from the field and combined with Garnett
for 28 of Minnesota's 32 points in the decisive third quarter when
the Wolves extended a two-point lead to 17.

"I'd like to see guys step up and take the challenge when a guy
gets going," Woodson said. "We can't sit and beg for help."

The score was tied 53-53 before Garnett hit two turnaround shots
and Sprewell hit two 3-pointers and a jumper for a 12-0 run. The
Wolves held Atlanta scoreless for nearly five minutes and led 81-64
at the end of the third. Atlanta did not get closer than 11 the
rest of the way.

"Sprewell's hot hand had a lot to do with it," Harrington
said. "They ran one play and milked it."

The Timberwolves trailed 26-21 after one quarter, and were still
behind 31-27 with 8:47 left in the second when Cassell came off the
bench to provide a spark.

Cassell had missed the previous 10 games due to a strained right
hamstring, but immediately hit a 12-footer before forcing a
turnover on the Hawks' ensuing possession.

"I'm sure he's been itching to take that shot for a long
time," Wittman said.

The Wolves took their first lead of the game, 42-41 when Hoiberg
hit a 3-pointer and they took the lead again, 49-47, on Anthony
Carter's runner at the halftime buzzer.

Game notes
Wittman compiled a 62-102 record coaching the Cleveland
Cavaliers from 1999-2001 ... Saunders, in his 10th season with the
Wolves, had never missed a game due to illness while posting a
408-319 record. He has been ejected five times, but not since Mar.
11, 2002. ... Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Wednesday he
doesn't expect to actively pursue any trades before the Feb. 24
deadline. "If there's something we see that will help our team,
either this year or in the long run -- and it's probably more in the
long run -- you would look at this thing," Taylor said. ... Woodson
and Wittman played two seasons of basketball together at Indiana
University.