Suns' Nash matches season high with 31 points in loss

PHOENIX (AP) -- In the NBA, one man's blocked shot can be another man's goaltending.

Such was the case when Kevin Garnett blocked Shawn Marion's short jumper at the buzzer to preserve the Minnesota Timberwolves' 103-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.

"That was a good block," Garnett told reporters. "I mean, you all saw what you saw, but as soon as it left his hand I got it, you know. I'm sitting right here in front of you all with a win."

The Suns complained vehemently that it was goaltending, but to no avail, and Minnesota had its first victory in five tries against Phoenix.

"I feel like the Seattle Seahawks," said Steve Nash, referring to what the Seahawks felt were bad calls by officials in Sunday's Super Bowl. "It's remarkable. There's like five games this year where we've not gotten a call in the last 30 seconds. After awhile, you realize you don't get those games back, and it's tough to take."

Garnett scored Minnesota's last five points to finish with 19, but he missed the second of two free throws with 14.6 seconds to go.

Nash got the ball inside to Marion who went up for what would have been a tying basket from about eight feet, and Garnett soared to knock it down.

"It's irrelevant right now," Marion said of the non-call. "We shouldn't have been in that situation. It shouldn't have gone down to the wire like that. That's what happens sometimes when you put it in someone else's hands."

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni was less charitable. He said he had reviewed the play "about five times."

"But it is what it is," he said. "I guess on our viewpoint we've got to win by 10, so it's our fault."

Minnesota coach Dwayne Casey countered, "I thought it was a clean block at the end."

Nash matched his season high with 31 points, including going 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Marion had 14 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high eight steals in a game that featured 41 turnovers, 24 by Minnesota.

Marcus Banks also had 19 points for the Timberwolves, while
Ricky Davis had 18, Trenton Hassell 15 and Rashad McCants 14.
Minnesota shot 57 percent from the field, the highest against Phoenix this season.

"We blew some opportunities, looked like we were a little tight," D'Antoni said. "We just didn't play loose. I mean, this one is tough to swallow."

Raja Bell scored 19 points for the Suns, while Boris Diaw added 14 and Leandro Barbosa 10.

Minnesota had lost eight of 10.

"This is a huge win," Garnett said. "We needed it more than they did and went out and played that way."

Banks' 19-footer with 2:14 left put the Timberwolves ahead 98-94, then Diaw scored inside to cut it to 98-96 with 1:56 left. Garnett's 14-foot turnaround jumper made it 100-96. The teams traded misses, then Diaw hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 51 seconds left to cut it to 100-99.

It was Diaw's fourth 3-pointer in 16 tries this season and his first since Nov. 22.

Garnett followed with a 13-footer to make it 102-99, then Nash made a driving layup to cut it to 102-101. That's when Garnett was fouled and made one of two.

Phoenix outscored the Timberwolves 20-8 over the final seven minutes of the third quarter to go up 80-74. Banks' 3-pointer with 8:44 left put the Timberwolves up 86-85 and neither team led by more than four points after that.

Minnesota shot 63 percent in the first half, 72 percent (13-for-18) in the second quarter, but led only 54-52 at the break.

Game notes
Bell and Garnett drew technical fouls for clapping in each other's face after Garnett was called for a foul. ... Diaw scored a career-high 31 at Minnesota on Dec. 26. ... Phoenix topped 100 points for the 11th straight game. ... Marion had six steals in the
first half. ... The four players acquired by the Timberwolves in the trade with Boston scored 44 points.