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Garnett, T'Wolves Slice Seattle


Minnesota coach Flip Saunders says he's a "freak of nature." Teammate Malik Sealy referred to him as the "long arm of the law."

Kevin Garnett just wants to be called a winner.

Garnett scored 12 fourth-quarter points, including a one-handed putback dunk with 18.3 seconds left, as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Seattle 85-84 Tuesday night, handing the SuperSonics their fourth straight loss.

"My whole thing is all about winning," said Garnett, who jumped up on the scorer's desk after the game and raised his arms in victory. "I'm an emotional player. I play off the crowd."

Garnett had 22 points and 16 rebounds, including a season-high eight on the offensive end. He had a franchise-record 11 rebounds in the fourth quarter. He also had six assists, four blocked shots and helped hold Seattle's Vin Baker to six shots for the second straight game.

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Game Summary

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  • "I don't think anybody stuffs the stat sheet the way he does," Saunders said. "He's a 7-foot-2 small forward. He defended everybody on the floor. That's why we're paying him $126 million."

    Joe Smith added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who completed the home-and-home sweep of the Sonics -- the team that defeated Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs last season.

    "Everybody that was here last year, especially me, had a bad taste when we left Seattle," Garnett said. "Tonight had that same sort of playoff intensity."

    Detlef Schrempf, playing ihis 1,000th game, scored 18 points as a reserve for the defending Pacific Division champions, who hadn't lost four in a row since January 1992. Dale Ellis added 14 points, but Gary Payton shot just 4-of-16 after going only 9-for-27 in Seattle's 88-77 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.

    "We're a much better team that we have shown the last couple games," Ellis said. "It has nothing to do with Minnesota - we're the better team."

    After Hersey Hawkins' 3-pointer gave Seattle an 84-83 lead with 27.6 seconds left, Stephon Marbury drove the right side for a layup. But Marbury put it up too hard and Garnett went way above the rim to dunk the follow.

    "I thought he was sitting on a few shoulders," Sealy said.

    The Sonics never got a shopt off in the final 18 seconds, as the Wolves smothered Payton in the post and knocked the ball away as Billy Owens scrambled for it.

    "We got what we wanted," Seattle coach Paul Westphal said. "I know it's hard to get a call late in the game. From where I was it looked like they hammered Billy (Owens) and Gary pretty good."

    The game was tied 45-45 at the half and the Wolves went into the fourth period with a 64-62 lead in a game that had 10 lead changes. Minnesota improved to 9-0 when leading into the fourth quarter.

    Garnett had two tip-ins at the start of the fourth period. And, after a Seattle 24-second violation, Bobby Jackson scored on a layup to give Minnesota a 72-71 lead with 7:55 left. Garnett had two more jumpers in a 9-4 run as the Wolves extended to an 81-75 lead with 2:27 remaining.

    But Ellis responded with two 3-pointers in a span of 33 seconds to tie it. After Garnett's 10-footer, Hawkins hit a 3-pointer to set up the go-ahead dunk.

    Marbury hit a 20-foot jumper to start the second half, and with 9:13 left in the third quarter, he made a behind-the-back pass on the break for Garnett's dunk that gave the Wolves a 51-46 lead.

    The Sonics battled back behind Schrempf's seven points to pull to 66-64 going into the fourth quarter.

    The Wolves made six of their first eight shots and jumped to a 12-5 lead 4:23 into the game behind Garnett's six points. Minnesota increased the lead to 25-13, but the Sonics stormed back with a 12-0 run to end the quarter.

    Seattle extended its lead to 38-30 with 7:14 left in the second as Schrempf had seven points and Payton six during a 21-5 run.

    Smith's offensive rebound and dunk seemed to ignite the Wolves, who went on a 14-6 run to te the game at 44.

    Notes

    Malik Sealy got into a car accident on his way to practice on Monday and played with 20 stitches in his head. He also sprained his right thumb Sunday night against Seattle...Paul Molitor, who retired this season from the Twins, was in attendance, along with season-ticket holder Kirby Puckett ...Schrempf, who came off the bench for the third straight game, became the 54th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 games.

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