Timberwolves 129, Warriors 113
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ His gaudy, diamond-banded watch was set to Hawaii time. Other than that, everything went just like clockwork for the $126 million man and his teammates on opening night.
Kevin Garnett was one of four players to reach 20 points Friday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame 45 points from Latrell Sprewell for a 129-113 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
One month after signing the richest contract in sports history, Garnett showed why the Wolves invested so much money in him. He had 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots before reluctantly facing a new round of questions about his mammoth contract and the expectations that come with it.
``Don’t make this out to be something that it ain’t, man,″ Garnett said, his have-to-see-it-to-believe-it watch running four hours behind. ``Let it rest, man, that’s over.″
Despite Sprewell’s night, the same could have been said about the game after Garnett and Terry Porter led an 18-3 run that put Minnesota in charge midway through the second quarter.
The Wolves led 69-55 at halftime, by 20 early in the third quarter, and by as many as 21 later in the third. Sprewell had 27 in the first half, but only four other Warriors had more than two points.
The Wolves, meanwhile, had four players in double figures after two quarters and finished the game with six in doubles. They had 15 blocked shots, one off the team record, and their 38 assists weren’t far from the team-best 42.
``When you have as many weapons as we have and you move the ball as well as we did, it’s very tough to beat us,″ said coach Flip Saunders, beginning his second full season after leading the Wolves to a franchise-best 40-42 record last season.
Tom Gugliotta, who became the first Minnesota player chosen to the All-Star game last season. led the Wolves with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Stephon Marbury added 11 points and 14 assists.
But Cherokee Parks and Chris Carr had the most notable nights for the Wolves. Parks, the fill-in solution at center with Stanley Roberts limited by a sore ankle, had 20 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
Carr, who was burned for most of Sprewell’s points, also had 20 points.
It was an encouraging performance for a team trying to improve on last season’s franchise-best 40-42 record and first-ever playoff berth.
``Everybody stepped up and played together,″ Parks said. ``If we can just polish up on some things last year, we can really improve our team.″
The Warriors have a lot more work to do to have any chance at getting back to the postseason for the first time since they were swept by Phoenix in the first round in 1993-94.
They allowed the Wolves to shoot 54 percent, and on the few occasions Minnesota shut down Sprewell the Warriors looked lost offensively.
``The key for us is to get to know each other _ and do it quickly,″ said Donyell Marshall, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors.
Notes: After hitting just 25 percent from beyond the deeper 3-point line in the preseason _ second-worst in the league _ the Wolves were 6-of-10 from that distance Friday night. Carr was 4-for-6. ... Parks, making his first start since coming to the Wolves from Dallas before last season, surpassed his previous Minnesota scoring high of 14. He had 25 in a game as a rookie with the Mavericks. ... Neither Brian Shaw nor David Vaughn, acquired from Orlando for Mark Price on Tuesday, dressed for Golden State.