Garnett puts up 30 while Sprewell adds 23

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- While the Timberwolves headed for the

team bus after an impressive win over the Kings, Wally Szczerbiak

recited most of the Memphis Grizzlies' remaining schedule by heart

as he chatted with Ervin Johnson about Minnesota's playoff chances.

"We need Denver to beat Memphis," Szczerbiak said. "We can't


The Timberwolves will need some help to earn their ninth

straight playoff appearance. They also need every win they can get

-- and they certainly had more passion and accuracy than their

opponents in Sacramento.

Kevin Garnett had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Latrell

Sprewell added 23 points in Minnesota's 112-100 victory Sunday.

Sam Cassell scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half for the

Timberwolves, who have won four straight regular-season games in

Sacramento. Minnesota made 53 percent of its shots and took a

16-point lead early in the fourth quarter before holding on to

extend the longest current winning streak of any opponent at Arco


With their sixth victory in seven games, the ninth-place

Timberwolves (39-35) stayed three games behind Denver and Memphis

for the final two Western Conference playoff spots. The Grizzlies

beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-82 on Sunday, while the Nuggets

were idle.

But after a disappointing start that cost coach Flip Saunders

his job, the Timberwolves began a playoff push two weeks ago with

the first of five straight victories. That winning streak ended

Friday night in Phoenix, but Minnesota faces just three teams with

winning records in its final eight games.

"We don't have anyone to blame for the situation we're in but

ourselves," Cassell said. "The only people that are going to get

us out of this situation is ourselves. We've got to keep doing what

we're doing."

Peja Stojakovic scored 25 points for the Kings, who grabbed a

season-high 24 offensive rebounds -- 20 in the first half -- but

couldn't do much else in a comfortable win for the Timberwolves.

Sacramento remained in fifth place, a half-game in front of

Houston, which lost to Phoenix 91-78.

"When you go on a road trip and beat Cleveland (on Friday

night), you can't come back home and lose to Minnesota,"

Stojakovic said. "They're fighting for their playoff spot, and we

have to have that same attitude. We should be fighting for our

playoff spot."

Mike Bibby scored 19 points and Cuttino Mobley added 16 for the

Kings, who must win five of their final seven games to reach 50

victories for the fifth straight season. Kenny Thomas had 11 points

and a season-high 16 rebounds.

Minnesota made a 17-6 run in the final 4 minutes of the third

quarter. Sacramento closed to 93-86 on Mobley's layup with 6:11 to

play, but Sprewell scored eight points in the next 4½ minutes while

also playing strong defense.

"Our offense is pretty good, and besides our rebounding, we did

a nice job," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "(The Kings) have

a little different look with Kenny Thomas, (Brian) Skinner and

Corliss (Williamson). This team is not as finesse-y as it used to

be. They come in and push you back."

These clubs had the makings of a rivalry following the

Timberwolves' seven-game victory over the Kings in the second round

of last season's playoffs, but Sacramento has a dramatically

different look without Chris Webber, Brad Miller and Doug Christie.

"It's very weird, Webb not being here and not seeing him and

Bibby, that one-two punch," Garnett said. "As a fan of the game,

I'm upset that those two can't enlighten us on behind-the-backs and

no-looks and the fun they bring here at Arco."

Sacramento dropped to 27-11 at home -- its worst record at Arco

Arena in five years. After six straight seasons without a home loss

by more than 15 points, the Kings have three such defeats already

this season -- and they needed a late rally to avoid another one.

"We just didn't guard them well enough the whole game," coach

Rick Adelman said. "In the second half, we got our heads down.

They played like a team that really needed to win, and they shot it

well and executed well. We didn't have any answer for them."

The Kings had a huge rebounding advantage for most of the game,

but couldn't do much with it because they made just 38 percent of

their shots.

"They're killing us on the boards! They're killing us!"

Cassell screamed to his bench after Sacramento got six offensive

rebounds on two possessions late in the first half.

Game notes
Mobley and Thomas got technical fouls in the fourth quarter

for arguing. ... Jimmy Jam, the Minneapolis music producer who's a

courtside regular at the Timberwolves' home games, watched this

game from courtside seats.