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Gomes, first-half offense lead Timberwolves past Knicks

Mar 23, 2008 - 4:26 AM By Tom Coyer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves scored a season-high 69 points in the first half as they dominated the New York Knicks at home in a 114-93 victory on Saturday.

Four Timberwolves scored in double figures and the offensive explosion was fueled by Ryan Gomes, who had 26 points and eight rebounds.

"We were clicking offensively and, tonight, the difference for us was defense. We got the stops we needed and the offense took care of itself," Timberwolves forward Craig Smith said. "We had a lot of transition points which is a bit abnormal for us. We got in passing lanes and really helped each other out defensively."

Rashad McCants came off the bench to scored 24 points, including 20 in the first half for Minnesota, which never trailed, starting the game on a 14-4 run to win for the sixth time in its last nine games.

"I kind of challenged our guys to start the game, especially after last night (a 124-113 loss at Indiana). I thought our guys were focused in the first quarter," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "That's probably as good of a first quarter we've played on both ends of the floor."

The 42-point first quarter was a franchise record for first-quarter points for Minnesota.

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas had a different perspective.

"The first quarter was a nightmare," Thomas said. "We gave up 42 points, and it was all up hill from there."

Timberwolves leading scorer Al Jefferson rested during the entire fourth quarter but still was able to record a career-high six assists.

"Anytime, I can score eight points and we win by 20, it's all good," Jefferson said. "Tonight, we played great 'D,' moved the ball and got good stops. When we play like the way we played tonight, it's hard to beat us."

Malik Rose scored 20 points off the bench for New York, which also had a balanced attack with six players in double figures in scoring. The Knicks lost for the fourth straight time and 11th time in 12 games.

New York was looking for its first season sweep of Minnesota since the 2000-01 season. Instead, it was another in a long list of dreadful performances and came on the heels of a 120-106 setback to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

"We can't give up 42 points in the first quarter, especially on the road. It's hard to come back from," Knicks forward David Lee said. "They shot the ball well and we played poor defense. Not getting back on defense is a problem we've had when not playing well."

The Grizzlies had lost 18 straight road games before breaking through against the Knicks in that contest.

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