- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS — All of a sudden, that stifling defense the Washington Wizards began the season with is missing in action.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, led by a typically magnificent performance from Kevin Garnett, connected on 53.5 percent of their shots in last night’s 109-98 victory over the Wizards before 13,683 at Target Center.

Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards (5-3), who have dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season, with 33 points, five rebounds and five assists.

While the Wizards had a difficult time stopping Garnett — who finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists — they also struggled in the fourth quarter with lesser players Richie Frahm and Troy Hudson. Both reserves scored 11 of their 16 points in the period when the Timberwolves outscored the Wizards 30-20.

A 15-point outburst from Arenas in the third quarter helped the Wizards cut a 15-point Timberwolves advantage to 79-78. When the fourth quarter started, Garnett’s help arrived.

Frahm, who made six of seven shots from the floor, including four of five from 3-point range, and Hudson hit open shots as the Wizards collapsed around the 7-foot superstar.

“It’s the second night a great player just took over the game,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “Tonight he had an X-factor with Richie coming off the bench and knocking down some shots and Troy Hudson. But again, it’s LeBron dominating the show with 37 and tonight it was KG. I can’t fault my guys for that because there are eight, maybe 10 guys like that in the league. We have one of them and he did it over the weekend. We just got some payback. Their great player won tonight.”

Arenas won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors on the strength of the 75 points he scored in wins over Seattle and San Antonio, but missed 13 of 17 shots and finished with 18 points in a loss to Cleveland on Tuesday.

After the rough night in Cleveland he got back on track against Minnesota, but did commit six turnovers for the second consecutive game.

“It was rough tonight because KG was really on his game,” Arenas said. “Sometimes he’ll play like that, get 20 or 25 by the end of the third quarter. Then he gets everybody involved. He’s a great player.”

Caron Butler added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Wizards, who got pounded under the boards, where the Timberwolves won the rebounding battle 45-31.

Antawn Jamison struggled after scoring eight points in the first quarter, finishing with just 12, four rebounds and three steals as the Timberwolves extended their home winning streak against the Wizards to six.

Jamison was limping late in the fourth quarter but Jordan said team athletic trainer Eric Waters said Jamison was OK.

“We’ll see how he is at practice tomorrow,” Jordan said.

After Butler pulled Washington to within 86-83 on a 14-footer, the Wizards failed to capitalize on a traveling call against the Timberwolves’ Wally Szczerbiak (17 points, five assists).

Garnett responded with an 11-foot bank shot. Frahm then stole the ball from Jarvis Hayes and raced in for a slam.

After Arenas was whistled for an offensive foul on Washington’s next possession, Frahm, who fell just two points shy of his career high, gave the Timberwolves a 93-83 lead with a 3-pointer at the 6:09 mark. The Wizards never came closer than eight points the rest of the way.

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