Hudson, Timberwolves hold off late Knicks rally

NEW YORK (AP) -- Troy Hudson knocked down the big shots and Wally Szczerbiak knocked out Stephon Marbury.

That combination helped the Minnesota Timberwolves win a game that didn't seem like it was going to be close.

Hudson scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a clinching 3-pointer with 7.3 seconds left, as the Timberwolves held off the New York Knicks 96-90 on Monday.

"You got to keep shooting," said Hudson, who has been battling a shooting slump. "Pretty soon they're going to fall."

They did, just in time to help Minnesota snap a seven-game road losing streak and win its third in the row overall.

Szczerbiak and Kevin Garnett each scored 24 points for the Timberwolves, who seemed to be in control after building a 19-point lead in the third quarter. But the Knicks nearly rallied in the fourth -- despite having to play half the final period without leading scorer Marbury -- forcing Hudson to hit a couple huge shots.

Marbury scored 20 points before leaving midway through the fourth quarter when he collided with Szczerbiak while trying to fight through a pick -- and he took issue with it.

"It was a dirty pick," Marbury said. "I knew I was hurt when I went back in and I couldn't get my arms up without any pain."

Szczerbiak said Marbury was upset about the play.

"He said, 'We have a beef,'" said Szczerbiak, who added that he wasn't aware of any.

X-rays revealed no fracture, and Marbury's status is not known. He has played in 280 consecutive games, the fifth-longest current streak in the league.

Marko Jaric added 11 points and Trenton Hassell 10 for the Wolves.

Quentin Richardson scored 14 for the Knicks and Nate Robinson
added 13 -- nine in the final period when the Knicks pulled within two. New York has lost two straight after winning six in a row.

Two free throws by Robinson cut the deficit to two with 32 seconds remaining, but the Wolves ran the clock down before Hudson hit his 3-pointer to make it 95-90.

Hudson has shot better over the last few games after an 8-for-39 stretch over the first four games of the month.

"That was a big shot by Troy -- one of many I might add. He had a lot of big shots in the fourth quarter," Szczerbiak said. "He's a good shooter, he really is. Those 3s in the fourth quarter can be really back-breaking, and that's when he gets in the game and gets
his minutes."

Jaric made the first two field goals of the third quarter and scored six points in a 10-1 run to open the half that gave the Wolves a 62-48 lead, which they kept extending while New York struggled to find any good shots against Minnesota's zone.

The Knicks didn't have a field goal until Antonio Davis' dunk nearly five minutes into the half, and they made just two of their first 12 shots. The lead grew to 72-53 when Hassell made a pair of free throws with 4:48 remaining in the third before the Knicks made it close by ending the quarter with a 12-2 spurt.

"We had a hard time stopping them," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "Their zone bothered us. We had to come down against a set defense for most of the first three quarters."

Marbury scored New York's final seven points of the quarter as the Knicks narrowed the deficit to 74-65 entering the fourth.

Consecutive baskets by Eddy Curry and Marbury pulled the Knicks within 74-69 early in the fourth, but Hudson hit a jumper and later a 3-pointer as the Wolves regained a double-digit lead at 83-73.

Minnesota's Michael Olowokandi entered in the first quarter after he had sat out the last two games. Though there is speculation that the Wolves are trying to trade the center, coach Dwane Casey said Olowokandi was not used because of bad matchups, not for any of the rumors around him.

Garnett had nine points and eight rebounds in the first quarter, helping Minnesota take a 25-23 lead. The Knicks were still within one in the final minute of the half, but Garnett and Eddie Griffin blocked New York's final two shot attempts, and the Wolves took a 52-47 halftime lead.

Game notes
The Knicks fell to 15-5 all-time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. ... Minnesota played a road game on the holiday for the first time since losing at New York on Jan. 17, 1994. The Wolves had
played seven straight home games since.