Thursday , Mar , 23 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Nets rally to beat T’Wolves

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Vince Carter had 21 points, seven
rebounds and seven assists to lead the New Jersey Nets to an 86-82 victory
over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Continental Airlines Arena.

Richard Jefferson had 21 points and eight rebounds and Jason Kidd added 17
points, nine helpers and six rebounds for the Nets, who are on a roll with
seven straight victories.

Nenad Krstic had 13 points and 13 rebounds for New Jersey, which holds a
commanding seven-game lead in the Atlantic Division and is in the third spot
in the Eastern Conference.

Kevin Garnett had a game-high 24 points and pulled down 11 boards, and Marcus
Banks and Mark Blount each added 18 points for the Timberwolves, who had a
small two-game winning streak stopped. Minnesota has dropped eight of its last
10 contests.

Minnesota had a slim two-point lead going into the final quarter, but Blount
hit a free throw and Banks drained a jumper to make it 70-64 a little less
than two minutes in.

However, excellent defense by the Nets allowed them to score nine straight
points and they had a 73-70 lead after Kidd hit two from the line with 6:47 to
play.

After Marko Jaric made a jumper, Carter countered with a jumper of his own to
make it 75-72 with 3:22 remaining. Garnett, though, was able to tie the game
after he was fouled on a successful layup and hit the free throw with 3:02
left.

Clifford Robinson countered with a trey from the left side and Carter hit
two free throws with 1:24 left to make it 80-75. Banks, though, hit four
straight from the charity stripe to get his squad back to within one point,
80-79, with 1:03 remaining.

Robinson came through with another three from the left side to give his squad
a 83-79 lead with 53 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Banks put in a layup,
but Jefferson hit two from the line to give New Jersey a 85-81 lead with 18.2
left.

“Cliff has been doing it for us all season,” said Kidd. “Coming off the
bench, he makes shots and competes on the defensive end . He made two big
three’s tonight.”

Jaric hit 1-of-2 from the line with 14.2 remaining, but Kidd made one from the
line and Minnesota missed two straight shots as time wound down.

“We were stagnant in the second half,” said Garnett. “First half we were
playing. In the second half we took a step back and they adjusted and got
some easy baskets. We were still in a position to win the game.”

The Timberwolves led throughout much of the first quarter. Holding a 18-14
lead after Carter made a jump shot with 4:08 left, the team went on a 11-6
surge to end the first 12 minutes and had a 29-20 advantage going into the
second.

Minnesota built its lead to 16 points, 44-28, after Justin Reed slammed the
ball home with 3:55 left in the second. New Jersey closed the half with a 12-6
run and Carter’s trey at the buzzer pulled his team to within 10 points,
50-40. going into the locker room.

“We had no energy in the first half,” said Kidd. “I give Minnesota alot of
credit. They played hard for 48 minutes.”

The Nets opened the third quarter by scoring the first nine points and made it
a 50-49 game after Jefferson hit two free throws with 7:57 left. The game see-
sawed back and forth from there, but thanks to two free throws by Blount with
40 seconds left the Timberwolves took a 66-64 lead into the final 12 minutes.

Game Notes

New Jersey travels to Detroit for a matchup on Sunday…The Timberwolves next
play in Toronto on Friday…The Nets snapped a four-game losing streak versus
Minnesota…The Timberwolves finished shooting 40 percent while the Nets made
36.4 percent of their shots…Robinson finished with 10 points…New Jersey
pulled down 48 rebounds compared to 42 for Minnesota…Kidd turned 33 today
and he is 3-1 on his birthday.

NJN MIN