Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/1

Game 1: Monday, January 1st
Game 2: Wednesday, February 21st

Timberwolves 102

(14-15, 6-10 away)

Bobcats 96

(9-22, 6-11 home)

    Coverage: KSTC

    7:00 PM ET, January 1, 2007

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 20 27 21 34102
    CHA 29 26 23 1896

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 32 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Charlotte: R. Felton 22 Pts, 3 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl

    Garnett (32 points, 14 boards) fuels Wolves in comeback

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Maybe Kevin Garnett's slump really was caused by the NBA's synthetic ball.

    Garnett had 32 points and 14 rebounds in the NBA's return to the old leather ball, and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied to beat Charlotte 102-96 on Monday night.

    Garnett was one of the most vocal critics of the NBA's decision to go with the microfiber composite ball at the start of the season, and his numbers had dipped as well.

    Garnett was 9-for-29 from the field in the previous two games with the synthetic ball. With Garnett and other stars complaining so much and with the players' union filing an unfair labor charge against the league, the NBA relented, switching back to the old ball for games starting Monday.

    Garnett took advantage, shooting 12-for-18 and scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter.

    "There is a God," Garnett said.

    So is that really the reason Garnett broke out of a funk that saw him shoot 38 percent in the past four games?

    "It looked like it," guard Ricky Davis said. "Let's just say, yeah."

    Davis added 25 points for Minnesota, and Mark Blount had 21. The Timberwolves trailed by 20 in the second quarter and by 12 early in the fourth.

    Matt Carroll led the Bobcats with 23 points. Raymond Felton added 22 points and nine assists, and Adam Morrison had 18 points.

    Garnett's shot in the lane with 8:19 left finished a 12-0 run that gave Minnesota the lead. He scored nine more points down the stretch and grabbed an offensive rebound of a missed free throw that led to Davis' basket that put Minnesota up 99-94.

    After Carroll's free throws pulled Charlotte within three, Garnett nailed a 14-footer with 16 seconds left to put it away.

    "We knew they were going to make a run," Felton said. "It was a good game that went down to the wire. We had a chance to get one more possession and not have to foul, but KG hit a big shot."

    The Bobcats hit five of their first six 3-point attempts in building a double-digit lead early in the second quarter. Charlotte took a 20-point lead on Sean May's back-to-back jumpers before the Timberwolves rallied.

    Davis said part of the reason for the Timberwolves' slow start was due to getting used to the leather ball, which was new and not broken in and worn. While players said it bounced better and seemed to be more natural bouncing off the rim, it was still an adjustment.

    "It was a lot different," Davis said. "That was a new ball out there, so I think that's why it was sliding around. But I love it. I'm ready to go at it."

    Davis and Minnesota finally got going, outscoring Charlotte 14-2 to close the half. Blount's jumper just before the buzzer made it 55-47 at halftime.

    The Bobcats pushed the lead back to 12 on May's jumper to start the fourth quarter, before they tired as they played without two starters.

    Forward Gerald Wallace will miss at least a week after separating a shoulder Saturday against Indiana. Charlotte also is missing starting guard Brevin Knight, sidelined at least three more weeks because of an abdominal tear.

    The Bobcats, wrapping up a stretch of five games in seven day that included a triple overtime win over Los Angeles last Friday, were outscored 34-18 in the fourth quarter.

    "It definitely hurt not having Gerald. He's our do-everything type of guy, inside and outside," said Morrison, 8-for-17 from the field. "We were tired, but we can't use that excuse. We get paid to play every game."

    Game notes

    Thanks to a scheduling quirk, Wallace might only miss one more game. The Bobcats play only once in the next eight days, Friday night at Orlando. ... Minnesota G Marko Jaric sat out after aggravating a sprained right thumb Saturday. Coach Dwane Casey said he'll undergo an MRI Tuesday. ... Bobcats C Primoz Brezec fouled out in 13 scoreless minutes. ... Carroll has hit 37 straight free throws.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 96
    FGM-FGA 40-81 (.494) 39-75 (.520)
    3PM-3PA 4-7 (.571) 10-19 (.526)
    FTM-FTA 18-27 (.667) 8-11 (.727)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-38 10-36
    Assists 25 25
    Turnovers 12 19
    Steals 4 5
    Blocks 3 4
    Fast Break Points 13 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 28 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 20

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 32
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Raymond Felton Felton
    Points: 22
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0