OKLAHOMA CITY -- When Ricky Davis has scored well this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have won. Davis had 23 points Friday night, and terrific halfcourt team defense did the rest in a victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
The Timberwolves held New Orleans to a season-low 33.8 percent shooting and kept the Hornets from forcing the tempo in an 86-79 victory.
Coach Dwane Casey said he had told Davis before the game that the Timberwolves were 3-0 when he scored 16 or more.
"I didn't want to count my chickens, but I stayed aggressive with what I do and made sure my teammates were involved," Davis said. "It's important, especially on the road, to control the pace because once they get going, it's off to the races."
Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 16 rebounds for Minnesota, and Mark Blount and Marko Jaric scored 11 each. Chris Paul was the only Hornet in double figures, with 18. Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo had 13 each.
In losing for the first time in five home games, New Orleans had only five fast-break points after three quarters. The Hornets got their running game going during a 7-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter, giving them a 67-66 lead, but Minnesota responded with a 15-2 run to take control for good.
"This is such a difficult place to play, it was just very important for us to be focused in that moment," Jaric said. "We stuck with our plan and didn't let the situation take over."
Jaric started the rally with two driving baskets and Troy Hudson capped it with five straight points including a 3-pointer. The Hornets were 1-for-8 with two turnovers during that time.
Paul had a career-high 35 points in a 99-96 victory over the Timberwolves six nights earlier. He was just 4-of-11 this time, with six turnovers. Peja Stojakovic was 3-of-15, Jackson 5-of-14.
"The ball just wasn't going in the hole for us and when that happens, we have to get stops on the defensive end and that just wasn't happening," Desmond Mason said. "We didn't push the ball, we didn't catch it or swing it from side to side or shoot it well."
Davis scored nine of his points in the third quarter when the Timberwolves took advantage of 4-of-17 shooting by the Hornets to open as much as an eight-point lead, 66-58. The Hornets had only one field goal in the final seven minutes of the third, that coming on a drive by Paul on one of their few fast-break chances.
The Hornets, coming off a poor shooting night in a loss at Phoenix on Wednesday night, continued their struggles against the Timberwolves. Yet they managed to stay close, in part because Garnett wasn't much of a factor early -- he took only five shots and scored seven points in the first half.
Jackson provided a lift off the bench for New Orleans, scoring eight points during a 12-2 run in the closing minutes of the first quarter that gave the Hornets their biggest first-half lead, 26-21. The Hornets then went nearly four minutes without scoring as the Timberwolves moved back in front early in the second.
The Hornets wound up just 3-of-17 from 3-point range, one game after going 1-of-14 from that distance. ... Something about the Ford Center must agree with Ricky Davis. Last season, in his only visit as a member of the Boston Celtics, he scored 32. ... Hornets forward David West (strained right forearm) missed his sixth straight game. ... Friday's game was the first of four in five days for the Timberwolves. Three of those are on the road.
|Minnesota (5-6) «||23||21||22||20||86|
|NO/Okla. City (8-5)||26||17||17||19||79|
|MIN:R. Davis 23 Pts
MIN:K. Garnett 16 Reb
MIN:M. James 5 Ast
|NO:C. Paul 18 Pts
NO:T. Chandler 10 Reb
NO:C. Paul 7 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|R. Davis, SG||38||9-16||5-6||3||4||3||23|
|K. Garnett, PF||37||8-11||2-4||16||3||1||18|
|M. Blount, C||35||5-9||1-2||7||1||4||11|
|M. James, PG||27||0-5||0-0||0||5||3||0|
|T. Hassell, SF||16||1-3||0-0||1||2||4||2|
|M. Jaric, PG||32||4-7||3-5||7||4||3||11|
|C. Smith, PF||23||2-7||2-2||10||1||1||6|
|T. Hudson, PG||22||3-8||1-2||5||0||1||9|
|R. Foye, PG||10||2-6||0-0||3||0||1||4|
|M. Madsen, C||2||1-1||0-0||0||0||1||2|
|B. Wright, SG||Did Not Play|
|E. Griffin, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Reed, SF||Did Not Play|
|R. McCants, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|P. Stojakovic, SG||36||3-15||2-3||9||0||2||8|
|D. Mason, SF||36||1-7||4-6||1||1||4||6|
|C. Paul, PG||36||4-11||10-10||6||7||2||18|
|T. Chandler, C||35||2-2||2-2||10||0||4||6|
|M. Jackson, C||19||4-12||0-0||3||1||0||8|
|J. Pargo, PG||22||5-11||2-2||3||4||1||13|
|B. Jackson, PG||21||5-14||2-3||3||0||4||13|
|R. Butler, SF||17||1-4||0-0||2||0||0||3|
|C. Simmons, PF||17||2-4||0-0||5||0||2||4|
|D. West, PF||Did Not Play|
|L. Johnson, SF||Did Not Play|
|B. Bass, PF||Did Not Play|
|H. Armstrong, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Vinicius, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|