Wolves taste rare road win

By Jerry Zgoda

Star Tribune

ORLANDO, Fla. — With their dwindling season now down to mere days and nothing for which to play, the Minnesota Timberwolves came in from the warm Florida sun on Friday evening against the playoff-bound Orlando Magic and performed, in the words of Randy Foye, like they were "playing in the park."

So tight all too often earlier in the season, the Wolves recovered from 14 points down in the third quarter, from seven behind with three minutes left and from four points back in the final 87 seconds to defeat the Magic, 102-101, at Amway Arena. Ryan Gomes sank two game-winning free throws with 2.9 seconds left.

"You got to shoot ‘em like there’s nobody in the gym," Gomes said of two shots that swished.


Either way — playing in the park or alone in the gym — the Wolves denied the Magic a season’s signature 50th victory in front of an announced sellout crowd.

The Wolves, in turn, reached their season’s 20th victory and ended a six-game losing streak two games shy of their longest this year. They did so with a 46-37 rebounding advantage that included 12 offensive rebounds. Gomes’ winning free throws came after he grabbed that 12th and final offensive rebound.

"You never want them to celebrate on you," Foye said.

He helped assure the Magic and their fans prepping for the playoffs that they didn’t have reason to cheer. Foye’s 25-point performance included consecutive three-pointers that supplied the energy for a 12-2 run in the game’s final 4:23. Teammate Rashad McCants supplemented Foye’s three three-pointers for the night with five of his own.

The Wolves packed bodies around imposing center Dwight Howard all night, and the Magic responded by making nine of 13 three-point attempts in a first half, after which it led 63-54.

"I’ve never played against a team that hit every three-point shot like they did in the first half," said Wolves center Al Jefferson, who battled Howard most of the night. "Coach told us there was no way they would keep shooting like that, and they didn’t."

The Magic made three of 15 attempts after halftime, the Wolves countered by making five of their eight, and everybody but those few who boarded the Wolves buses bound for the airport and a late flight to Memphis went home sullen.

"We should have 50 wins in front of our fans," said Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu,

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