Thursday , Feb , 26 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Timberwolves hand New Jersey first loss under Frank

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – Troy Hudson scored 29 points starting in
place of an injured Sam Cassell, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to an
81-68 win over the New Jersey Nets in a matchup of division-leaders at the
Target Center.

Kevin Garnett scored 18 points and pulled down nine boards, while Wally
Szczerbiak posted 14 points off the bench for the Timberwolves. Michael
Olowokandi hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds, as Minnesota won for the seventh
time in eight games and ended the Nets’ franchise-best 14-game winning streak.

Kenyon Martin had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Jersey in both
categories. Jason Kidd collected 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but
shot just 5-of-20 from the field, as the Nets had a six-game road win streak
snapped and lost for the first time overall since January 23rd.

“No pressure,” said Martin. “If we lost 14 in a row, there’d be a lot of
pressure.”

New Jersey also fell for the first time under new head coach Lawrence Frank,
whose 13-0 start to his career was the best start ever by any new
manager/coach in professional sports history.

“Losing is a part of the game,” said Frank. “Nobody likes it. Nobody accepts
it. The only thing you can do is learn from it.”

The Nets trailed by just one point at 55-54 heading into the fourth quarter,
but Hudson and Fred Hoiberg took over from there for Minnesota. Hoiberg scored
the first five points of the frame for the Timberwolves, as Minnesota held a
60-58 edge.

Then Hudson caught fire, scoring 12 in the midst of a 15-0 run that all but
put the game away at 75-58. Hoiberg added the other three points during the
burst, and scored all eight of his points for the game in the stanza.

“The adrenaline was there,” Hudson said.

Hudson missed most of the season with a badly sprained ankle, but stepped into
the starting lineup for Cassell, who was sidelined with some left ankle
tendinitis of his own.

A horrendous first half saw the teams tied 32-32 after 24 minutes. New Jersey
got out to a 14-7 lead on a Martin basket with 3:47 to play in the first
quarter, and extended its lead to 20-12 after 12 minutes.

The Timberwolves fought back, though, scoring the first 10 points of the
second quarter, and led 22-20 on Olowokandi’s basket four minutes in. Neither
team was able to gain more than a four-point lead over the remainder off the
half.

Garnett had 12 points at the break to lead all scorers, while Martin locked
down a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the third quarter, and Hudson hit
a pair of free throws with less than 30 seconds remaining to give the
Timberwolves a 55-54 edge heading into the final stanza.

NJ MIN