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Howling start lifts Minnesota

By Jerry Zgoda

Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — There’s a reason why the New York Knickerbockers’ traveling road uniforms look a bit like outfits worn by U.S. Postal Service employees, a proud collection of men and women who know all about mailing things in.

The Timberwolves set a franchise record for most points in a first quarter by scoring 42 and owned a season-high 69 points by halftime in a 114-93 rout Saturday night at Target Center over a Knicks team obviously playing for its future — as in its improving its lottery chances.

By the time it was all over, the Wolves also tied their season high for assists with 29, scored their most fast-break points (25) since March 31, 2006, shot 67.5 percent in the first half and won for the sixth time in their past nine games and for the 13th time in their past 30 after they beginning the season 5-34.

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They also matched their largest margin of victory this season on a night when star forward Al Jefferson delivered eight points and a career-high six assists before sitting the entire fourth quarter with the game already well in hand.

Ryan Gomes led the Wolves with 26 points and Rashad McCants added 24.

"Any time I can score eight points and we win by 20 points, it’s all good," said Jefferson, who failed to reach double-figure scoring for only the third time this season.

He probably wouldn’t turn down another chance to play the Knicks, either.

These two teams last met each other in the season’s second game, the first Sunday night in November when New York started Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry and Quentin Richardson and won by four points at Madison Square Garden.

TIMBERWOLVES 114, KNICKS 93

NEW YORK (93)

Chandler 6-9 0-0 12, Lee 6-6 2-2 14, Morris 1-7 0-0 2, Crawford 6-19 2-2 16, Jones 3-10 4-4 13, Rose 8-13 4-6 20, Balkman 0-2 0-2 0, Collins 5-12 0-0 12, Jeffries 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 37-85 12-16 93.

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MINNESOTA (114)

Snyder 4-6 7-7 15, Gomes 12-17 2-2 26, Jefferson 4-7 0-0 8, Foye 4-6 0-0 9, Jaric 2-7 6-6 11, Brewer 2-6 4-4 8, McCants 10-21 1-2 24, Richard 1-1 1-2 3, Smith 3-5 3-4 9, Madsen 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 42-79 25-29 114.

New York 24 32 21 16 — 93

Minnesota 42 27 25 20 — 114

3-Point Goals—New York 7-20 (Jones 3-6, Collins 2-4, Crawford 2-7, Chandler 0-1, Balkman 0-1, Rose 0-1), Minnesota 5-16 (McCants 3-9, Jaric 1-2, Foye 1-3, Gomes 0-1, Brewer 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—New York 43 (Lee 11), Minnesota 50 (Jefferson 9). Assists—New York 20 (Collins 8), Minnesota 29 (Foye 9). Total Fouls—New York 18, Minnesota 13. Flagrant Fouls—Balkman. A—14,789 (19,443).

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