Saturday , Jan , 17 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Midwest Division battle in Houston

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves
attempt to extend their five-game winning streak when they finish a three-game
road trip this afternoon against Midwest Division rival Houston at the Toyota
Center.

Earlier this season, Minnesota defeated the Rockets, 92-75, on December 16,
2003 at the Target Center. Sam Cassell scored 25 points to lead the
Timberwolves to the victory.

On Wednesday, Cassell scored 33 points, including 23 in the second half, as
the Timberwolves defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 100-93, in a battle of
Midwest Division heavyweights at the SBC Center.

Latrell Sprewell netted 24 and Garnett contributed 22 points and 10 boards for
the Timberwolves, who have won 14 of their last 16 games overall. Minnesota
finished an impressive 51 percent from the floor.

Minnesota won six in a row earlier this season from December 12, 2003 to
December 23, 2003.

The Timberwolves, who have won two straight and nine of their last 11 on the
road, are an impressive 14-6 as the visitor this season.

The Rockets come into today’s game having won two in a row. Yao Ming scored 21
points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead Houston to a 95-80 victory over the
Boston Celtics on Wednesday at FleetCenter.

Cuttino Mobley scored a game-high 24 points in the win for the Rockets, who
have won six of their last eight games overall. Mobley finished 8-of-15 from
the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point range. Steve Francis contributed
14 points for Houston.

Yao also had a double-double Tuesday night with 21 points and 11 rebounds in a
93-80 victory at Washington.

In the last five games, Francis is averaging 18.2 points and seven assists in
just over 41 minutes of action.

On Thursday,Houston signed free agent point guard Mark Jackson Thursday to
back up Steve Francis. Jackson ranks second all-time in the league with 10,215
assists and is 20th with 1,591 career steals. Magic Johnson and John Stockton
are the only other players in NBA history to record 10,000 career assists.
Jackson, a 16-year veteran, spent last season with the Utah Jazz as a backup
to the now-retired Stockton, and averaged 4.7 points and 4.6 assists.

Houston, which has won three of its last four as the host, is 12-5 at home
this season.

HOU MIN