MINNEAPOLIS -- Their coach watched the final three quarters from the locker room after being ejected and their star player watched the last 90 heart-pounding seconds from the bench after fouling out.
Yet in the most convincing sign yet that Minnesota is moving in the right direction, these young Timberwolves gritted their teeth, steeled themselves and got another win anyway.
Randy Foye scored 10 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and the Timberwolves rallied from 13 points down in the second half for a thrilling 106-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
Coach Kevin McHale was ejected after the first quarter with two quick technicals by referee Sean Corbin and Al Jefferson fouled out with 1:29 to play and the Wolves clinging to a three-point lead.
"That just says that we're a team and we're starting to come together," Foye said.
Michael Redd scored 32 points for Milwaukee, but missed a chance to tie it in the final nine seconds. Richard Jefferson added 29 points for the Bucks, who led by 13 points with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter before Carney got going.
"We scored plenty of points, shot a good percentage, we made our free throws," coach Scott Skiles said. "When the game was really on the line we just weren't able to come up with the stops that we needed."
Carney scored 11 points in the final 3:47 of the period to cut the deficit to five points heading into the fourth.
That's where Foye took over. He led the team in scoring in three straight games, but was 0-for-4 with one point when he entered the game with 9:48 to play and the Wolves down 85-84.
Undaunted, he scored on a twisting drive and then hit a 3-pointer in Luke Ridnour's face to give the Wolves an 89-88 lead with 8:42 to play and set up a back-and-forth finish.
Redd came right back with a three-point play and a layup and Jefferson needed every bit of his considerable athleticism to convert a three-point play of his own for a 96-91 lead.
But Minnesota wouldn't go away, and Foye hit another big 3-pointer and scored on another drive for a 105-102 lead that whipped the home crowd into a frenzy for the first time in what had been a long season until the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1.
The Wolves are unbeaten in 2009 after a 4-23 start.
"What a gutty game. That was a really good win for us," McHale said. "To hold them to 44 (in the second half) after that blitzkrieg they threw at us the first half, the guys showed a lot of guts."
Ridnour had 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Bucks after beating the Nets on a last-second teardrop on Friday night.
Bogut, who missed the previous four games with back spasms, made a pretty jump hook over Al Jefferson and then scored on a whirling drive to the basket for a 100-96 lead with 4:53 left.
But he missed two free throws just over a minute later and finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Coming off a 42-point victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, Minnesota was flat from the jump. The Wolves missed 11 of their first 14 shots and were dominated on the boards by the feisty Bucks.
When guard Mike Miller missed a 3-pointer from the corner that would have cut the deficit to six points at the end of the period, he maintained that he was hit on the elbow.
McHale took up Miller's cause in the intermission, to Corbin's dismay. Assistant Jerry Sichting took over for McHale.
"His ejection maybe fired them up, sparked them a little bit," Redd said. "They're young and they're getting better."
- Skiles missed a chance at career win No. 300.
- Wolves rookie Kevin Love had 12 rebounds, and Jefferson had 20 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.