"Howard is going to be a great player in this league,"
Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "Kevin already is a great
player. Kevin knows all the tricks of the trade. Dwight will
someday be there, but Kevin is still above him."
After making it known that his patience was wearing thin
following a win over New York on Sunday, Garnett made it clear that
he isn't giving up on this season, or his teammates.
"I don't think he alone will let anyone on this team give up,"
He delivered the kind of all-around effort he's become known for
over his 11 seasons here, showing why owner Glen Taylor would be
foolish to trade him in the offseason.
Garnett flustered Howard, the second-year player who, like
Garnett, came straight to the NBA from high school. Howard wasn't
bad -- he had 15 points and 12 rebounds. He just wasn't KG.
"I had it marked on my calendar, but I think I was a little
anxious tonight," said Howard, who missed six free throws. "I
didn't play as well as I had hoped tonight. Kevin just had a great
Garnett said after the game that Howard doesn't remind him of
himself at a younger age -- he thinks Howard is even better.
"Dwight's a freak of nature," Garnett said. "I don't know
what they put in the milk for these kids nowadays."
The Magic allowed Minnesota to shoot 55 percent, turned the ball
over nine times in the fourth quarter and had their four-game
winning streak snapped, further diminishing their long-shot playoff
"This game hurts," said Tony Battie, who scored 10 of his 14
points in the first quarter. "We haven't been a particularly good
ballclub on the road and this game was within our grasp."
After Sunday's sloppy victory over New York, Garnett said he
couldn't take another rebuilding year in Minnesota. While he has
never said he wanted to be traded, Taylor felt it necessary to say
before the game that "today, as I stand here, I don't see a
(trade) possibility that makes sense."
Still limited by a groin injury, Ricky Davis gave Garnett the
kind of support he's desperately needed all season. Davis had 26
points and matched a season high with 10 assists. Mark Blount added
14 points for the Timberwolves, who will almost assuredly miss the
playoffs for the second straight season after reaching the Western
Conference finals in 2004.
But the Magic appeared to be weary after a spirited comeback win
at Chicago the night before, missing 12 free throws and having
difficulty matching the Timberwolves' energy in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota led by four heading into the fourth, but that's
nothing for the Magic. After overcoming an 11-point fourth-quarter
deficit to beat Chicago on Tuesday night, they couldn't muster
another double-digit comeback on Wednesday.
"Coming off a back-to-back tough game against Chicago, fatigue
set in at the end of the game and that leads to turnovers," Howard
The Timberwolves led by 10 points midway through the final
period, and coach Dwane Casey pulled Garnett for a quick breather.
As Garnett walked to the bench, he gave Casey a look as if to say,
"Are you crazy?"
On Orlando's first possession with Garnett on the bench, Howard
got free for a wide open dunk to cut the lead to eight. Garnett was
back on the floor in just over a minute, and the lead ballooned to
12 points 30 seconds later.
"I'm just trying to win some games and go out on a decent
note," Garnett said.
Orlando's DeShawn Stevenson drew a technical foul at the
end of the first half for arguing for a foul call. ... Orlando's Bo
Outlaw got a technical in the third period for hanging on the rim.
... Wolves guard Trenton Hassell missed his fourth straight game
with a sprained left ankle and knee.