Despite win, Timberwolves still looking for answers to nagging problemsby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Wednesday night's win counts as the Minnesota Timberwolves' first home victory in February and just their second win in nine games. Timberwolves players hope the win will help them turn things around after a few days off for the NBA All Star weekend.
St. Paul, Minn. — The Timberwolves started fast and kept their foot on the gas in the win over Seattle. They hit over 40 percent of their first-half shots and they pestered their opponents on defense, often forcing them to commit turnovers, many of which resulted in fast break baskets for the Timberwolves.
The Wolves held a two-point lead at halftime 52-to-50. However, the Timberwolves have been notorious at losing games after leading at the break. In fact 13 times this year, they've lead or been tied at the half and then gone on to lose the game. That's more than any other team in the NBA.
They remedied that by coming out in the third quarter with even more intensity than they displayed in the first half. Leading the way was guard Ricky Davis, one of four Timberwolves recently traded from the Boston Celtics.
Davis led all scorers with 25 points. He drove to the basket and drew several fouls which led to 9 of his total points to come from the free-throw line. Kevin Garnett, who has been a consistent scorer and rebounder all season long, finished with 23 points and 15 boards.
"I thought Ricky and also Kevin did a good job of running the show offensively getting what we wanted offensively," said Timberwolves head coach Dwane Casey, who also praised the job his team did defensively. They held the Seattle Super Sonics well under their average of over 100 points a game. However, Casey says the team still has a lot to work on. The Timberwolves were sloppy at times, committing 20 turnovers.
But Casey says he'll take the win, especially going into the upcoming All Star break.
"It was good for us it was good for our guys," he said. "Kevin needs the rest. Trenton needs the rest, just to rest his body. Especially Kevin. He's got a lot of minutes. A lot of miles. And this weekend will be good and I'll be very upset at Avery Johnson if he plays him a lot of minutes."
Casey is talking about Avery Johnson, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs who will coach the Western Conference All Stars. Garnett, a perennial All Star, says he'll try to take it easy with all the hoopla that surrounds the game.
"I been there done that with the parties and all that. I try to enjoy the family a little more," Garnett said. "But to answer your question, I don't do very much. I'm off my feet a lot. I do my committments but for the most part you can find me in my room or chillin' somewhere."
Garnett says he hopes the win over the Supersonics will help motivate the team to improve. He says the Timberwolves need more time with the four new players to gel into a team. Garnett says the new players, Davis, Marcus Banks, Mark Blount and Justin Reed are good. But he says that alone won't win games.
"It's very, very important for everyone to understand that with new elements - just because we have talent in here we can't expect to walk and let that talent lead us to wins. It's going to take some kind of chemistry and we do have to get some repetitions together so that's why practice time is more important than anything," he said.
Each of the Timberwolves new players scored points against Seattle. In fact, their combined contributions made up about 40 percent of the Timberwolves points.
The Timberwolves will continue after the All Star Break in Washington D.C. next Tuesday where they will face the Washington Wizards.
- Morning Edition, 02/16/2006, 6:50 a.m.