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Garnett, Timberwolves top Jazz for third straight win

Dec 9, 2006 - 3:42 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- While Kevin Garnett showed his all-around game, it was the Minnesota Timberwolves' backcourt that ultimately denied Jerry Sloan an impressive milestone.

Garnett had a season-high 31 points and 14 rebounds and Mike James scored 28 points as the Timberwolves broke out offensively in a 110-103 victory over the Utah Jazz for their seventh win in 10 games.

Ricky Davis added 21 points for Minnesota, which shot 51 percent (42-of-82) from the field and 20-of-22 from the line to overcome the NBA's best team.

"Everybody had to be ready," Garnett said. "It was a big game, a huge game. We've been playing pretty decent, not as well as we can. ... We watched one game where (the Jazz) destroyed a team with just basic execution. We were ready."

Garnett shot 12-of-22 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from the arc, as he displayed his complete offensive repertoire. The superstar 7-footer recorded his first 30-point game since March 19 of last season vs. Sacramento.

"Kevin is one of the best players ever to step on the court," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "He hit a lot of jumpers in the second half. A couple of threes. A lot of fadeaways. He's shooting fadeaways and he 7-1. What are you going to do?"

Garnett's most impressive work may have been the defensive end, holding Boozer to just eight points on 4-of-17 shooting, well below his team-leading 22.7 average.

"I was so into it defensively. Boozer and this team have been playing very well," Garnett said. "Defensively, (Garnett) has to be the MVP player of the year right now," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "He's doing a great job of clogging the paint, helping everybody, communicating, directing traffic and calling the sets. He just makes everybody else's job easier."

James and Davis shot a combined 16-of-35 from the floor and 14-of-15 from the line to devastate the defense of the Jazz.

"(Garnett) is the ticket," James said. "He's been great all season. He just needed some help from some other guys, so everybody has to step up and carry their load. I'm just trying to play the game.

"I'm going to be aggressive and continue to work on my game in the gym so I can always believe that the shots I'm putting up are going to go in because I'm putting in the work."

Coaching his 19th season in Utah - the longest current stretch with one team in pro sports - Sloan failed in a bid to join Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson, Pat Riley and Larry Brown in the 1,000-victory club.

"It will be nice so I don't have to answer any more questions about it," Sloan said. "Or maybe I should retire quick and put it behind me. Either way, life goes on."

Trailing, 96-85, with 5:18 left, the Jazz went on an 8-2 spurt to make it 98-93 on Derek Fisher's driving layup with 2:39 remaining. On the ensuing possession, however, James nailed a demoralizing 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to help Minnesota pull away.

"They hit big shots at the end," Jazz guard Deron Williams said. "We were making a run, but they closed the door. You got to give them credit. They played a great game, but my defense was horrible. I'll admit that. We didn't help out as much as we usually do and it showed."

Williams collected 21 points and 11 assists and Mehmet Okur added 18 for Utah (15-5), which shot 49 percent (38-of-77). The Jazz have won all 11 games this season when they have shot 50 percent or better.

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    UTAH 103

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    Jazz vs. TimberwolvesDec 8 10:11 PM
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    Jazz vs. TimberwolvesDec 8 10:06 PM

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    UTAH 70

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