Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Saturday, November 20th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 23rd
Game 4: Monday, April 18th

Hornets 102

(15-52, 4-30 away)

Timberwolves 107

(35-34, 20-15 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, March 23, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 16 30 28 28102
    MIN 33 28 19 27107

    Top Performers

    NO: J. Magloire 20 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Min: K. Garnett 24 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    KG has 24 and 13; Griffin clutch down the stretch

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves are so desperate for victories at this point that they won't quibble over nearly blowing a 20-point lead for the second game in a row.

    "Just win, baby," guard Sam Cassell said. "We just need some wins."

    Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Eddie Griffin came up with some key plays down the stretch to help the Timberwolves hold off pesky New Orleans, 107-102, on Wednesday night.

    After New Orleans scored six straight points, Griffin hit two free throws and converted a three-point play to give the Wolves a 97-89 lead with just over four minutes to play.

    Griffin finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who didn't trail for the second straight game, but once again allowed their opponent to claw back into the game in the fourth quarter.

    "We're nursing those leads a little bit," coach Kevin McHale said. "We just have to focus and play better defense."

    Jamaal Magloire led the Hornets with 20 points and 17 rebounds and J.R. Smith added 20 points and seven assists, but it wasn't enough to keep New Orleans from losing for the seventh time in nine games.

    "I think right now our team defense is really poor," Magloire said. "We don't trust one another, we don't help each other all the time."

    The Timberwolves are going to need to keep winning if they hope to leapfrog Denver, which has won 12 of 13, and sneak into the Western Conference playoffs. Denver, which did not play on Wednesday, holds a 2½ game lead over the Timberwolves with 13 games to play.

    "Every game is a playoff game for us right now," Fred Hoiberg said. "Especially with Denver playing the way they're playing."

    Just like they did two nights ago in a victory over the Rockets, the Timberwolves nearly let a 20-point lead slip away.

    Troy Hudson scored 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter and Minnesota shot 63 percent in the first half to take a 15-point lead at the break.

    "We got out to a slow start and that's been one of our letdowns the whole year," Magloire said. "We've got to stop playing catch-up."

    New Orleans battled back, using a big advantage on the offensive boards to close the third quarter with a 9-2 run. Bostjan Nachbar knocked down two 3-pointers during the spurt, the last one coming from the corner just before the quarter ended that made the score 80-74.

    "Definitely, it's (dangerous)," Wolves forward Wally Szczerbiak said when asked about letting teams get back in the game. "When we get a team down 20, we're supposed to take care of business and blow them out by 40."

    New Orleans had seven players in double figures, including Dan Dickau, who had 17 points and six assists, but was a liability on defense.

    The Timberwolves' point guards combined for 32 points and nine assists, with Sam Cassell chipping in with 14 points and four assists.

    The Hornets sure could have used Speedy Claxton, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle.

    "Speedy being out hurts us defensively, big time," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "When he's out, like he has been the last couple of games, it really kills us on the perimeter."

    Game notes

    Prior to tipoff, a moment of silence was observed for the 10 people, including five students, who were killed when a 16-year-old boy opened fire at a school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and then killed himself on Monday. ... Timberwolves F Mark Madsen will miss the remainder of the regular season with a ruptured ligament in his right wrist. Madsen hopes to have surgery next week and will need about three months to recover. ... Hornets F David West, originally listed as out for the game with a bruised right knee, played 23 minutes and had three points and six rebounds.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 107
    FGM-FGA 36-84 (.429) 38-74 (.514)
    3PM-3PA 9-19 (.474) 4-17 (.235)
    FTM-FTA 21-29 (.724) 27-29 (.931)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-43 6-34
    Assists 22 21
    Turnovers 15 10
    Steals 6 6
    Blocks 3 8
    Fast Break Points 11 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 26 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 20

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Jamaal Magloire Magloire
    Points: 20
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 24
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2