CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Kevin Garnett had 32 points and 14 rebounds in the NBA’s return to the old leather ball, and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 102-96 on Monday night.

Garnett, a vocal critic of the NBA’s synthetic ball, was 12-for-18 from the field and scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. He was 9-for-29 from the field in his previous two games with the synthetic ball.

After numerous complaints about the synthetic ball introduced at the beginning of the season, the league decided to switch back to the old ball.

Ricky Davis added 25 points for Minnesota, and Mark Blount had 21. The Timberwolves trailed by 20 in the second quarter and by 12 early in the fourth. Matt Carroll led the Bobcats with 23 points. Raymond Felton added 22 points and nine assists, and Adam Morrison had 18 points.

Garnett’s shot in the lane with 8:19 left finished a 12-0 run that gave Minnesota the lead. He scored nine more points down the stretch and grabbed an offensive rebound of a missed free throw that led to Davis’ basked that put Minnesota up 99-94.

After Carroll’s free throws pulled Charlotte within three, Garnett nailed a 14-footer with 16 seconds left to put it away.

The Bobcats hit five of their first six 3-point attempts in building a double-digit lead early in the second quarter. Charlotte took a 20-point lead on Sean May’s back-to-back jumpers before the Timberwolves rallied.

Minnesota outscored Charlotte 14-2 to close the half, cutting it to 55-47 on Blount’s jumper just before the buzzer.

The Bobcats pushed the lead back to 12 on May’s jumper to start the fourth quarter, before they tired as they played without two starters.

Forward Gerald Wallace will miss at least a week after separating a shoulder Saturday against Indiana. Charlotte also is missing starting guard Brevin Knight, sidelined at least three more weeks because of an abdominal tear.

B>Notes:P> Thanks to a scheduling quirk, Wallace might only miss one more game. The Bobcats play only once in the next eight days, Friday night at Orlando. … Minnesota G Marko Jaric sat out after aggravating a sprained right thumb Saturday. Coach Dwane Casey said he’ll undergo an MRI Tuesday. … Bobcats C Primoz Brezec fouled out in 13 scoreless minutes. … Carroll has hit 37 straight free throws.

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