Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/28

Game 1: Friday, January 28th
Game 2: Friday, February 11th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 6th
Game 4: Friday, April 15th

Jazz 86

(23-51, 7-29 away)

Timberwolves 111

(40-35, 22-15 home)

    Coverage: KSTC

    8:30 PM ET, April 6, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 8 25 23 3086
    MIN 31 24 36 20111

    Top Performers

    Utah: G. Giricek 14 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 18 Pts, 16 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Minnesota wins seven of eight

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves had nothing to show for their near-perfect performance, other than a good-looking game tape.

    Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points to help the Timberwolves beat the Utah Jazz 111-86 Wednesday night, their seventh win in eight tries.

    Kevin Garnett had 18 points, 16 rebounds and six assists for Minnesota. But with the regular-season schedule quickly shrinking, the Timberwolves failed to make any progress toward the Western Conference playoffs.

    Seventh-place Denver (43-31) and eighth-place Memphis (42-32) also won, leaving Minnesota (40-35) still 2½ games out of the last spot. The Wolves, who dropped the season series to the Grizzlies and would lose a tiebreaker with them, host the Nuggets on Friday.

    "All we've got to do is worry about what we do," said Sam Cassell, who had nine points in 10 minutes. "We can't worry about what Memphis did."

    Matt Harpring and Gordan Giricek each scored 14 points for the lottery-bound Jazz (23-51), who trailed by as many as 39 points and were beaten 47-29 on rebounds.

    With three of his top five scorers -- Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko and Raja Bell -- hurt, coach Jerry Sloan gave veteran point guard Howard Eisley his first start of the season and introduced Utah's 29th different starting lineup. That's the most in the NBA this season.

    Sloan didn't get to stick around long to watch, which might have been a good thing. He picked up two technical fouls in the first quarter for griping to referee Ken Mauer, earning his first automatic ejection this season.

    "It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had in a long time," said Sloan, whose streak of 16 straight winning seasons is ending.

    One minute after Sloan was tossed, the Timberwolves completed a 19-0 run on a sharp fast-break pass by Troy Hudson to a streaking Garnett for a layup that gave them a 25-4 lead barely eight minutes into the game. Minnesota gave up eight points in the first period, the fewest allowed in the opening frame in franchise history. It was also Utah's lowest-scoring quarter of the season.

    The Jazz lost their eighth straight on the road, dropping to 7-28 away from home.

    A frustrated Jarron Collins got a charging foul late in the third for burying his head in Garnett's chest and drew a technical a few seconds later for complaining about it, which made Garnett clap and smile. Then, while Latrell Sprewell lined up to shoot a free throw, Eisley got a technical, too, for chirping.

    "He's fouled all over the place ... and Jarron ends up with a foul," Sloan said. "That was one of the funniest things I've seen. But that's the way everything went for us all night long. It wouldn't have made any difference."

    After playing well below expectations for much of the season, leading to the firing of coach Flip Saunders, the Timberwolves have finally found their stride -- raising their record to 15-9 since Kevin McHale took over for Saunders.

    "It was just a good overall game," McHale said. "When you get a big lead early, you're always worried that complacency's going to set in. But the guys did a good job of not letting that happen."

    Game notes

    Bell is not with the team on this road trip because of a bruised shin and tendinitis in his foot. Kirilenko (broken wrist) and Boozer (strained foot) are on the injured list. Also, Keith McLeod didn't dress for Utah because of a sprained wrist. ... McHale raved before the game about Sloan, despite the Jazz's struggles this season. "Jerry's one of my favorite people," McHale said. "His teams play hard. That's what I like." The two spoke briefly before tipoff, but McHale said he didn't ask Sloan about his plans for the future. Sloan, 63, is finishing his 17th year as Utah's coach. ... Former University of Minnesota star Kris Humphries, who left the Gophers after his freshman season, was mildly booed each time he scored for Utah. ... Eight Minnesota players scored eight points or more.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 111
    FGM-FGA 35-81 (.432) 41-77 (.532)
    3PM-3PA 1-3 (.333) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 15-21 (.714) 24-28 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-29 11-47
    Assists 26 31
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 9 5
    Blocks 3 7
    Fast Break Points 12 23
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (4/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 39

    Top Performers

    Gordan Giricek Giricek
    Points: 14
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 18
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2