MINNEAPOLIS – Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Michael Olowokandi scored a season-high 18 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a slow start and beat the Charlotte Bobcats 102-89 Saturday night.

Wally Szczerbiak added 15 points for Minnesota, which won its second straight game after losing two in a row. Troy Hudson had 13 points and Rashad McCants 11.

Olowokandi, who entered the game averaging 8.6 points per game, scored 12 in the final quarter and finished with eight rebounds and four blocks.

After struggling offensively through the first 21/2 quarters, Minnesota began to pull away midway through the third with a 10-2 run to take a 14-point lead. The Bobcats hung tough thanks to some key baskets by Kareem Rush and Jumaine Jones.

Rush and Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Rush added a pair of free throws to make it 70-61 with 1:07 to play in the third. Richie Frahm hit a driving layup, Garnett sank a jumper with .6 seconds to go, and Olowokandi opened the fourth quarter outscoring Charlotte 8-2 on a series of soft jumpers as the Wolves took an 82-63 lead early in the fourth.

McCants made a layup off an impressive spin move in the lane to give Minnesota its biggest lead at 85-63 with 7:49 to play.

Charlotte never came closer than 13 points the rest of the way, and Garnett got a rare fourth quarter off.

Raymond Felton led the Bobcats, who lost their second in a row, with 15 points. Kareem Rush added 13, Emeka Okafor had 11, and Brevin Knight, Matt Carroll and Jones each had 10.

The Wolves held Charlotte to a season-low 38 first-half points – Charlotte’s previous season low was 39. However, they barely topped their own season low (41), managing 45 points on 19-for-43 shooting.

Notes: Olowokandi, whose previous best this season was 14 points against Washington on Thursday night, blocked three shots in the first half. … Bobcats F Melvin Ely missed his fifth-straight game with a shin injury. … Despite being inactive for the game, Bobcats G Kevin Burleson had a smile on his face for his homecoming. Burleson played college ball for the Minnesota Gophers and played last season in Germany before signing with Charlotte as a rookie free agent this summer.

AP-ES-11-19-05 2248EST


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