Wolves Hold Off Heat


Kevin Garnett was in foul trouble, Joe Smith didn't even play and the Miami Heat were making a late run.

No problem for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Wolves broke out to a 15-point halftime lead and held off a furious second-half rally by the Heat for a 100-93 victory at Target Center.

Smith missed the game with a rib injury sustained Wednesday against Boston, while Garnett played just 30 minutes because of foul trouble.

But with nine players scoring at least six points and the reserves scoring 34 points, the Wolves trailed only once, at 7-6.

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  • "This was truly a team effort," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said.

    Garnett led the Wolves with 19 points but had just four in 13 minutes of the second half. The Heat, down 64-49 with 7:55 left in the third quarter, pulled within two points on three occasions in the fourth quarter.

    Terry Porter scored 14 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter for Miami. He also capped a 17-7 run with a 3-pointer that pulled Miami within 89-87 with 5:56 to play.

    The teams traded baskets twice before Dean Garrett converted two free throws with 34 seconds to play. P.J. Brown then threw away the ensuing inbounds pass, and Sam Mitchell hit four free throws in the final 32 seconds to ice the game.

    Minnesota got 13 points off the bench from Garrett, who didn't start for only the second time this season, and outstanding defense and two crucial 3-pointers from James "Hollywood" Robinson, whom they signed to a 10-day contract just before tipoff.

    Robinson, who played for the Wolves in 1996-97, was fishing in Jackson, Miss. on Thursday when his agent called him. He played 19 minutes and helped hold Miami's Tim Hardaway to 5-for-17 shooting.

    "It feels like I've only been gone two weeks," Robinson said. "The team welcomed me back with open arms -- esecially when I hit my first three."

    Alonzo Mourning led all scorers with 28 points.

    "They wanted it a little bit more than we did," Mourning said. "We didn't really feel any sense of urgency until the second half."

    It was Minnesota's first victory at home since beating Seattle 85-84 on March 9. Since that game, they had traded starting point guard Stephon Marbury and lost starters Anthony Peeler and Smith and key reserve Malik Sealy to injuries. And despite an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, the Wolves have now won three of four.

    "We told ourselves when we beat Boston on Wednesday that we wanted that to be a springboard for us," Garnett said.

    Minnesota became only the second team this season to score 100 points against Miami. Boston beat the Heat 108-101 on Feb. 9. Notes: To make room for Robinson, the Timberwolves waived forward Brian Evans. ... Smith had started all 27 previous games and is still listed as day-to-day. ... Opponents' reserves have outscored the Wolves' bench in 12 of the last 16 contests, an indication of Minnesota's injury problems. ... The Wolves began a six-game homestand; the Heat are the only one of their six opponents to make the playoffs last season.

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