Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 3/1

Game 1: Wednesday, March 1st
Game 2: Thursday, March 23rd

Timberwolves 82

(28-40, 8-26 away)

Nets 86

(39-28, 23-9 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 23, 2006

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 29 21 16 1682
    NJ 20 20 24 2286

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 24 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Stl

    NJ: J. Kidd 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

    Robinson's 3-pointers give Nets seventh straight

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- It didn't matter that Clifford Robinson had missed seven of his first nine shots. He was open and the game was on the line, and players don't hang around for 17 years in the NBA if they don't cash in more of those opportunities than they squander.

    Robinson made two 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help New Jersey pull away, and the Nets beat Minnesota 86-82 Thursday night for their seventh straight victory and 15th win in their last 18 home games.

    Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson each scored 21 points as the Nets snapped a four-game losing streak to Minnesota. But it was the two times Carter set up Robinson late in the game that made the difference.

    "Cliff had the courage to step up and shoot them. That's why he's still at a high level at 39 years old," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You can't be afraid to miss a shot."

    Both shots came from the left side and both gave New Jersey some breathing room. The first came with the game tied at 75 with 2:12 left, and Robinson buried the second with 53 seconds left after Marcus Banks had pulled Minnesota within a point with two free throws.

    "They were pretty much the same play," said Robinson, who has more years in the league than any active player. "On the first one, they left me to focus on Vince, and he did a good job of finding me. Vince, Richard, Jason (Kidd), they really command a lot of attention, and at that point of the game you're going to think that they're going to get the shot."

    Up to that point, the Nets had struggled for long stretches against Minnesota's zone defense. They trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter, but erased a 10-point halftime deficit and led by as many as four points in the third quarter before the Timberwolves came back to take a 70-64 lead on Ricky Davis' 3-pointer.

    "We weren't very patient early," Carter said. "We were going a little bit too fast. The zone really threw things out of whack. Guys were taking jumpers instead of penetrating and then finding the open guy."

    It didn't matter in the end because Minnesota's penchant for losing leads took hold, and the Timberwolves scored just 12 points in the game's final 10:54. They fell to 22-11 when leading after three quarters, the second-most losses in the NBA.

    "We have to hang on to our leads. We give them away like they're candy," said Kevin Garnett, who scored only nine of his 24 points in the second half. "It's frustrating. You have to understand the personnel. We have a young team. Our guys haven't been in these situations, and they're learning."

    Banks scored 18 points and left Kidd in the dust on several drives. Mark Blount also scored 18 for Minnesota and combined with Garnett to outscore New Jersey's frontcourt duo of Nenad Krstic and Jason Collins 29-5 in the first half.

    Kidd finished 17 points and nine assists, and Krstic had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

    While the Atlantic Division-leading Nets carry their seven-game winning streak into a challenging three-game set against Detroit, Phoenix and Memphis, the Timberwolves can only hope for help from other teams as they hold onto slim hopes for a playoff spot.

    "We always hold out hope," coach Dwane Casey said. "Mathematically we're still in it. Every time we walk out on the floor, we're playing for something and we're playing for improvement."

    Game notes

    Kidd celebrated his 33rd birthday Thursday. ... The Nets improved to 7-27 when trailing after three quarters. They are 31-0 when leading after three quarters. ... Minnesota was 19-for-67 (28 percent) in its last seven games from 3-point range and didn't attempt any in the first three quarters Thursday. The Timberwolves finished 1-for-8. ... Early in the third quarter, a bird flew out from underneath the overhead scoreboard and soared some 20 feet above the court before landing in the lower-level seats.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 86
    FGM-FGA 28-70 (.400) 28-77 (.364)
    3PM-3PA 1-8 (.125) 7-23 (.304)
    FTM-FTA 25-34 (.735) 23-33 (.697)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-42 12-48
    Assists 17 21
    Turnovers 12 13
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 2 6
    Fast Break Points 11 16
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (2/0) 28 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 16 5

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 24
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Jason Kidd Kidd
    Points: 17
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0