"Kevin's basket was the back breaker," Minnesota coach Dwane
Casey said of Garnett's crucial basket with 56.9 seconds remaining.
"That's in our playbook, and we executed it perfectly."
LeBron James scored a season-high 38 points, but the Cavs shot
only 32 percent and lost for the first time in seven games at home.
Drew Gooden had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which has
dropped two straight following an eight-game winning streak.
Garnett scored 26 points and Troy Hudson 18 -- all in the second
half -- for the Timberwolves, who came in 0-4 away from home. Wally
Szczerbiak added 16 points and Eddie Griffin had 12 rebounds for
"It feels really good to get that off our back," Griffin said
of finally getting a road victory. "Now we can just go play."
James didn't get much help from his teammates, as Larry Hughes
(3-for-16), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (2-for-10) Donyell Marshall
(0-for-9), and Damon Jones (0-for-6) -- a free-agent foursome that
cost the Cavs $151 million in contracts this summer -- shot a
combined 5-for-41 and scored 22 points.
"We missed shot after shot after shot, wide open shots," James
said. "There are going to be nights like that."
Still, the score was tied at 82 when Garnett took an inbounds
pass off a designed play with 2 seconds left on the 24-second
clock. He casually stepped back and dropped a high-arcing 21-foot
jumper over Gooden.
"I just knew the play all the way," Garnett said. "I got it
up with some extra loft on it. It was an easy shot."
Marshall misfired on Cleveland's next possession, and Jaric made
the Cavs pay by hitting a 19-footer from the right corner with the
clock shot expiring to make it 86-82 with 16 seconds left.
Jones missed again for Cleveland, and Hudson's free throw made
it 87-82 with 11 seconds to play. James hit a fall-away 3-pointer
with 5.9 seconds remaining, but Hudson iced it with a pair of free
"We had our chances toward the end, but we didn't make shots,"
Gooden said. "They made shots."
Hughes, Jones and Marshall, signed to improve the club's suspect
outside shooting, went a combined 1-for-18 and scored just five
points in the first half.
Hughes' three-point play -- his second field goal -- put the Cavs
ahead 65-60 late in the third. James, who during one stretch scored
15 of Cleveland's 18 points, then punctuated an 11-point third
quarter with a soaring dunk over Griffin.
James drove the lane, took off on the left side and delivered a
vicious, right-handed slam.
"He really is something," Garnett said of James. "He not only
has met all those incredible expectations, he has blown them out of
the water. He has built the expectations for the next generation."
With his teammates struggling from the floor, James took it upon
himself to carry the scoring load and had 19 points -- nine on
3-pointers -- in the first half.
Garnett's four assists moved him past Paul Westphal (3,591)
into 100th place on the career assists list. He's two behind Earl
"The Pearl" Monroe. ... The Cavs successfully stopped Seattle
from using Brendan Malone, the club's interim coach last season, as
a consultant. Malone, whose son, Michael, is an assistant on
Cleveland's staff, is still under contract and being paid by the
Cavs. The club agreed before the season to allow Malone to help
Sonics coach Bob Weiss, but the Cavs felt Malone was acting more
like an assistant coach -- staying on the bench and running some
practices. ... Szczerbiak, a 90-percent free throw shooter, missed
two straight in the second quarter.