MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Dwane Casey has been harping on his Minnesota
Timberwolves to decrease their turnovers and increase their free
It's amazing what happens when they listen.
Kevin Garnett had 28 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists to
lead the Timberwolves to a 99-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls on
Garnett's 500th career double-double helped snap a three-game
losing streak and Wally Szczerbiak added 25 points and nine
rebounds for Minnesota, which only had 10 turnovers after averaging
over 17 a game in their last 14.
"The stat that jumps out on paper for me is the turnovers,"
Casey said. "That's huge. We took care of the basketball and that
gave us more bullets on the offensive end."
The Bulls went nearly six minutes without a field goal in the
fourth quarter and struggled offensively for most of the game
against the Wolves, who had just three wins in their previous 14
Andres Nocioni scored 16 of his 23 points in the fourth and Kirk
Hinrich had 17 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds
for the Bulls, who had won three in a row to bounce back from a
season-high eight-game losing streak.
The Timberwolves shot just 39 percent from the field, but
outrebounded the Bulls 46-34 and made 35 free throws to Chicago's
"We shot the ball well enough to win," Bulls coach Scott
Skiles said. "We just couldn't stop fouling."
Before the game, Casey acknowledged that the team's latest slide
was beginning to wear on him and the players, particularly Garnett.
Facing the prospect of falling three games below .500 for the
first time since December 1999, the Wolves had good reason to wear
But they responded on Wednesday night with a spirited effort,
and Garnett led the charge in the fourth quarter.
After starting the game 5-for-13, Garnett was 3-for-3 to start
the fourth, including a turnaround jumper on the baseline and a
three-point play that gave the Timberwolves an 86-77 lead with just
over 4 minutes to go.
The Bulls pulled within six on a 3-pointer by Ben Gordon, but
the Bulls' fourth-quarter specialist fouled out on the ensuing
possession and finished with 19 points.
Michael Sweetney hit a short jumper in the lane with 14 seconds
to go that cut Minnesota's lead to 93-91, but Szczerbiak hit two
free throws and the Bulls couldn't get any closer.
"This was a game we had to have as far as momentum goes,"
Garnett said. "This came at the right time for us. We were as
aggressive as we've been in a while."
The Bulls had an opportunity to take control of the game in the
second quarter, when Minnesota went scoreless over the first five
minutes and made just one of its first 15 shots.
But Chicago wasn't much better, going 5-for-15 from the floor in
the period and trailed 43-42 at halftime.
"I didn't notice them stepping up the defensive pressure,"
said Gordon, who missed nine shots in a row after not hitting the
rim during a 6-for-6 start. "I just noticed my missing shots."
Garnett's double-double total is second among active
players to Shaquille O'Neal's 640. He just missed his 17th career
triple-double. ... Bulls C Tyson Chandler came off the bench for
the second straight game after missing three games with a right
ankle sprain. He fouled out in 16 minutes and scored six points.
... Wolves PG Anthony Carter came to the game clad in colorful
attire with shoes that were hot pink, blue and yellow and bright
yellow corduroy pants. ... Casey received a technical, his first of
the season, for arguing a call by referee Eric Lewis with 7 minutes
to go in the fourth. "The cheapest technical I've ever gotten,"