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T’wolves’ ‘Big 3′ pile up 75 points; Suns lose

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS – Latrell Sprewell started it, Kevin Garnett kept it going, and Sam Cassell finished it off.

In the end, Minnesota’s “Big Three” combined for 75 points as the Timberwolves beat the Phoenix Suns 110-95 last night for their third straight victory and 17th in 21 games.

“We take turns,” said Cassell, who had 22 points and 10 assists. “Whoever jump-starts us, and then somebody’s got to finish it off.”

Sprewell scored 15 points in the first quarter, Garnett had 32 points and 14 rebounds, and Cassell hit three straight key shots in the fourth quarter.

“It just seems like one guy takes over a certain part of the game and continues to do that,” coach Flip Saunders said.

To be fair, Garnett seemed take over the entire game as he posted his league-leading 47th double-double. Minnesota improved to 23 games over .500 (38-15) for the first time in team history.

“We establish the lead and want to be aggressive from the start,” Garnett said. “Sam came in and hit some big shots in the fourth quarter.”

Amare Stoudemire scored 29 points, and Joe Johnson added 25 for Phoenix, which has lost six straight games for the third time this season.

“They know how to play down towards the end, and we don’t do a good job yet,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said.

“All they need is to smell a little blood,” said Shawn Marion, who finished with 18 points but shot just 6 for 21.

Phoenix shot 38.4 percent from the field.

Nuggets 106, 76ers 85: At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored nine of his 28 points in a pivotal third quarter, and the Nuggets won their third straight.

Nene added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who outscored the 76ers 49-31 in the second half.

Heat 97, Jazz 85: At Miami, rookie Dwyane Wade scored 31 points, and the Heat used a big run in the second quarter to beat the Jazz for only the fourth time in their last 18 meetings.

Lakers 89, Trail Blazers 86: At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 31 points including a tiebreaking, left-handed layup with 31.8 seconds remaining.

Ex-Arizona Wildcat Damon Stoudamire missed a 3-pointer, and Horace Grant got the rebound as time expired.

Hornets 89, Pacers 75: At Indianapolis, Jamal Mashburn had 20 points, and Baron Davis added 19 points and eight assists.

Knicks 92, Pistons 88: At New York, Stephon Marbury made a clutch 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, and the Knicks – revamped again following the trade of Keith Van Horn and Michael Doleac – sent the Pistons to their sixth consecutive loss.

Bucks 127, Magic 104: At Milwaukee, Michael Redd scored 27 points to help the Bucks overcome Tracy McGrady’s 41 and hand the Magic their eighth straight loss.

Grizzlies 109, Mavericks 92: At Memphis, Tenn., James Posey had 19 points, Stromile Swift added 18, and the Grizzlies won for the sixth time in seven games to match their franchise record, set last season, with their 20th home win.

Bulls 75, Raptors 73: At Chicago, Jamal Crawford had 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Eddy Curry added 15 points for the Bulls.

Rockets 107, Wizards 81: At Houston, Jim Jackson scored 17 points, and Yao Ming had 16 points and four blocks to help the Rockets beat the Wizards for the ninth time in 10 games in Houston.

Kings 127, Celtics 111: At Sacramento, Calif., Peja Stojakovic scored 28 points, and Vlade Divac had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

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