for this game

Garnett, Davis lead Timberwolves' comeback over Bobcats

Jan 2, 2007 - 4:32 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett was one player who was glad the league returned to the old leather ball.

Garnett scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Ricky Davis added 25 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied from a 20-point deficit for a 102-96 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Minnesota posted the fourth-largest comeback in franchise history to win for the fourth time in six games. It was the first contest of the season without the much-maligned microfiber composite ball.

"It was two different halves out there," Minnesota coach Dwayne Casey said. "I thought we came out sleep-walking the first half and didn't really become aggressive until the second half. I thought it was going to be one of those 25-point nights. Our guys responded at halftime after we challenged them."

"Our identity is a defensive identity," Garnett said. "When we get away from that, you can basically do what you want against us. But when we're locked in defensively and everyone is on the same page, it's hard to beat us."

After trailing, 50-30, in the second quarter, Minnesota used a 14-0 run early in the fourth to take an 82-80 lead with 8:18 left. Garnett scored four points and Davis and rookie Randy Foye hit 3-pointers during the spurt.

Matt Carroll scored eight consecutive points for the Bobcats, including two baskets from the arc, to put them in front, 88-86, with 5:24 to go.

"When you're up by 20 points in a game, you should win that game," Carroll said. "Why it happened, I don't really know. We let up a little bit, but we weren't trying to.

"In the NBA, there are a lot of possessions. Sadly, when you're up 20 points in the first half, it's not a safe lead. We've got to manage it."

However, Mark Blount converted a three-point play and Garnett hit two free throws and a basket as Minnesota took a 93-90 advantage with 3:33 remaining.

"We took advantage of different mismatches out there and just tried to make it easier for us to score offensively," Blount said.

After Raymond Felton made a layup for Charlotte, Minnesota finished with a 9-4 burst, capped by Garnett, who hit a turnaround foul-line jumper with 16 seconds to play.

Garnett made 9-of-18 shots and Blount scored a season-high 21 points for the Timberwolves, who outscored Charlotte, 34-18, in the fourth quarter.

"This shows that we're still growing," Davis said. "We're still trying to keep it going. If we want to get better, this is the pace we have to be at."

"In the second half, I thought we were a lot more aggressive defensively," Garnett said. "We took away things they wanted to do offensively and that made them uncomfortable."

Minnesota's starting five of Garnett, Blount, Davis, Mike James and Trenton Hassell shot 52 percent (37-of-71) with the old leather ball.

"It was a lot different," Davis said. "I love it. I'm ready to go at it."

"It felt good," Blount said. "It was a little bit of an adjustment, but it felt good out there."

Carroll hit 5-of-8 from the arc and scored 23 points and Felton added 22 for the Bobcats, who set a season high with 10 3-pointers.

"We did have a good lead, but that's part of the growth of this young team," said Bobcats rookie forward Adam Morrison, who scored 18 points. "We have to understand that they're going to make a run, but realize how to hold it off to a certain extent and push through. That comes with time and games."

"I can't gripe about them hustling to get loose balls and getting second shots," Charlotte cloach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "What they had, they laid out there. When we get tired, we make mistakes, and there were some unforced errors that we made. I just think playing five games in seven days affected us."

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