Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/23

Game 1: Wednesday, November 23rd
Game 2: Wednesday, December 21st
Game 3: Saturday, February 11th

Hornets 100

(27-23, 10-15 away)

Timberwolves 94

(22-28, 14-11 home)

Coverage: COX

7:00 PM ET, February 11, 2006

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
NO 14 33 29 24100
MIN 23 30 14 2794

Top Performers

NO: S. Claxton 28 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

Min: K. Garnett 19 Pts, 21 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Claxton nets 28 as Hornets get past struggling Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Garnett had a simple explanation for Saturday night's disappointing loss to New Orleans.

"We never adjusted to Speedy," he said.

Subbing for the injured Chris Paul, Speedy Claxton had 28 points and seven assists, and hit two huge shots in the final 2 minutes to lift the Hornets over the reeling Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94 on Saturday night.

Kirk Snyder added a career-high 28 points for the Hornets, who trailed by five with just over 3 minutes to play.

With Ricky Davis hitting jumpers and the home crowd rocking, the Timberwolves finally looked as if they would break out a funk that had them losing nine of their previous 12 games.

But Claxton knocked down two quick jumpers and Snyder added a rebound dunk and a 3-pointer in a 9-0 run that spanned just over a minute.

Claxton added one more jumper off a pick-and-roll that got the Hornets on the way to their second win in a row without their star rookie Paul, who missed another game with bruised ribs.

"He is a good teammate because he could have cried about not starting," Snyder said of Claxton. "But he just does his job whatever role coach puts him in. It is incredible what he was able to do on the floor."

Davis led Minnesota with 23 points and Garnett added 19 points and 21 rebounds, but was once again conspicuously absent from the score sheet in the fourth quarter. Garnett was 0-for-4 in the final period.

Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said before the game that he didn't see Paul's absence as a bonus given the success Claxton has had against him in the past. His concern proved prophetic.

After getting 18 points and 11 assists in a victory over New York on Wednesday, Claxton was even better on Saturday night.

"I feel comfortable in the starting role," Claxton said. "I've started a number of games in my career, so it's nothing new to me."

The Hornets used a 15-0 run in the third quarter, nearly all of which came on easy drives to the basket against a toothless Timberwolves defense, to take a nine-point lead into the fourth.

It took the Timberwolves less than three minutes to erase that deficit.

With all four former Celtics acquired in the Wally Szczerbiak trade on the floor -- Davis, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed and Mark Blount -- the Wolves started the period with an 11-0 run to take a 78-76 lead.

Banks' drive gave the Wolves an 89-84 lead with 3:12 to play before the Hornets responded with their run in the blink of an eye.

The run erased a horrendous start to the period for the Hornets, who managed just two points in the first 6 minutes.

"You have to be able to weather the storm," Banks said. "We weathered it, but then it started raining again. Then it started snowing. Then it started hailing."

Despite a 54-35 rebounding advantage and the Hornets' slow fourth-quarter start, the Wolves weren't able to put enough distance between themselves and Claxton.

Blount added 12 points and five rebounds while Banks finished with 12 points despite being limited by foul trouble for much of the night.

The Timberwolves' 10th loss in 12 games -- and fifth in their last six home contests -- dropped them to 22-28. They have talked often about needing time to jell after the big seven-player trade last month, but time is running out.

"Everybody, including the coaches, keep looking forward to the playoffs, the playoffs," Garnett said. "But we need to focus on one game at a time instead of looking down the road."

Desmond Mason had 14 points and nine rebounds and David West and P.J. Brown each had 11 points and seven boards for the Hornets, who at 27-23 have been one of the surprise success stories in the league, especially given their displacement from New Orleans to Oklahoma City in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"Guys have a gleam in their eye to win," Snyder said. "When it comes to crunch time, we don't clam up."

Game notes

Paul worked out at Target Center before the game and was eager to rejoin the lineup, but coach Byron Scott decided to hold him out again. Scott said the rookie could be ready to return on Monday against Washington. ... Wolves PG Marko Jaric, who started the first 46 games, was inactive after losing his spot to Carter. ... Davis got a technical foul for arguing with the officials in the third quarter.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 100 94
FGM-FGA 36-78 (.462) 33-80 (.413)
3PM-3PA 4-5 (.800) 2-6 (.333)
FTM-FTA 24-33 (.727) 26-38 (.684)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-35 18-54
Assists 9 20
Turnovers 8 14
Steals 7 7
Blocks 5 11
Fast Break Points 6 9
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 29 (2/0)
Largest Lead 11 14

Top Performers

No/oklahoma City
Speedy Claxton Claxton
Points: 28
Reb: 3
Ast: 7
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 19
Reb: 21
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 2