Kings 95, Timberwolves 86
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Teen-ager Kevin Garnett seems right at home in the NBA. But his Minnesota Timberwolves still can’t seem to get comfortable in a league they joined six years ago.
Garnett, the first high school player to jump to the NBA in 20 years, hit all four of his shots Friday night. The rest of the Wolves hit just 33 percent of their shots in a 95-86 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Walt Williams had 18 of his 20 points in the first half as the Kings spoiled the impressive debut by Garnett, 19, who had eight points in 16 minutes for Minnesota.
``He was very surprising to me because he was so poised out there,″ Williams said. ``For a guy who’s as young as he is, you’d think he’d be out of control or nervous, and he wasn’t at all.″
Garnett said he left all his rookie jitters in the preseason, and didn’t even realize how well he shot against Williams.
``I hit all four of them?″ he asked. ``I’m mad because we lost. But that’s good. I started out alright, then.″
Garnett, 19, the fifth draft pick this year and the youngest player in the NBA, hit shots ranging from a thundering dunk to a soft 18-foot jumper from the top of the key. He also made a no-look pass to Christian Laettner under the basket.
Mitch Richmond had 17 points for the Kings, who hit seven of their 13 shots from behind the 3-point line.
Terry Porter hit all 10 of his free throws and scored 19 points for Minnesota. Tom Gugliotta added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have never won a season opener on the road in five tries.
There were four technical fouls and three players fouled out in the sloppy game, which included several hard fouls that were not called by replacement referees Larry Onusz and Robby Robinson.
The game did little to resolve the battle between Bobby Hurley and Tyus Edney for the Kings’ point guard job. Neither was effective, leading the Kings to use forward Williams and shooting guard Richmond at point guard for much of the game.
Hurley scored just two points in 15 minutes and Edney hit only one of his four shots in 16 minutes.
The Kings took advantage of Minnesota’s poor shooting to take a 43-40 halftime lead. The Wolves hit just 14 of 42 shots in the first half.
Olden Polynice had seven points as Sacramento went on a 19-8 run midway through the third quarter to take a 66-55 lead.
The Kings built their lead to 80-67 midway through the fourth quarter and led comfortably the rest of the way.