T-Wolves honor Garnett, then beat his Nets
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves fans had plenty to cheer about when it came to Brooklyn forward Kevin Garnett in Friday’s 111-81 victory over the Nets.
After a first-quarter timeout, the Timberwolves played a video tribute that led to a standing ovation and a seemingly heartfelt acknowledgement from the 12-year Minnesota player.
After Garnett’s third-quarter flagrant and technical foul following a shove of Minnesota forward Kevin Love, the Timberwolves went on a game-icing 16-0 run.
“Two guys battling, fighting, frustration,” Garnett said. “Whatever you want to call it. He goes hard, I go hard. I’m over it. End of that.”
“That’s kind of vintage KG, trying to get himself going, get himself into the right mind-frame,” Love said. “I just didn’t really care.”
Guard Kevin Martin followed with two free throws, Love hit one, and forward Corey Brewer knocked down a three-pointer for a six-point possession to key the decisive run.
Every Timberwolves starter scored in double figures, with Martin and Love leading the way at 17 apiece. Brewer and center Nikola Pekovic chipped in 15 each and guard Ricky Rubio added 12.
“We responded well when that situation happened,” Love said. “It was a six-point turn-around for us, and we never really looked back.”
Center Andray Blatche scored 16 points and guard Joe Johnson added 15 for undermanned Brooklyn, which suffered its worst loss of the season. The Nets lost seven of their last eight games and four straight for the first time since a five-game slide Dec. 1 through Dec. 11 last season.
Brooklyn, which was without four players due to injury — including three starters — started slow and never recovered, missing 14 of its first 17 shots.
The margin was 32 points after three quarters, leaving starters for both teams on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.
“We just couldn’t get stops on the other end,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “The offensive rebounds, the points in the paint, things that we’ve talked about that we need to work on, we didn’t do today.”
Minnesota, which led by as many as 37, dominated in all facets of the game, committing a season-low eight turnovers while handing out 28 assists. Brooklyn was one shy of a season high with 20 turnovers and set a season low with seven assists. The Timberwolves grabbed a season-high 17 offensive rebounds, turning them into 22 second-chance points.
The Nets scored just 14 first-quarter points — a season low for Brooklyn and a season low allowed by the Timberwolves. Minnesota outscored Brooklyn with its second-chance points alone in the frame (15).
The Nets’ 37 points through two quarters tied for the fewest in any half by a Minnesota opponent this season.
“We attacked defensively,” Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. “We wanted to make sure Pierce and Johnson didn’t get great looks. We were going to take it out of their hands and not let them beat us.”
Garnett fell to 7-1 against his former team, losing for the first time in five trips to Target Center as a visitor.
Point guard Tyshawn Taylor chipped in 13 points and guard Alan Anderson was also in double figures with 11 as Brooklyn fell to 1-7 on the road this season.
Love finished with 16 rebounds, including a career-high for a quarter with 11 in the first. Minnesota avoided losing three straight games for the first time this season.