When the clock malfunctioned in the final three minutes of a two-point game in a hostile environment, forcing the time to be kept at Sacramento’s scorer’s table, the Minnesota Timberwolves feared the worst.
“There’s 2:52 left in the game, and all the sudden the clock breaks down?” Minnesota point guard Sam Cassell said with a smile. “It must be a conspiracy going on here.”
But the Timberwolves didn’t stop when the clock did, getting 11 unanswered points from Cassell and Kevin Garnett on their way to a 121-110 victory over the Kings on Sunday night.
After Bobby Jackson’s three-point play cut Minnesota’s lead to 106-104 with 2:52 to play, the clock stopped working after a timeout. After a short delay while officials tried to get the clock working, the game resumed with time being kept at the scorer’s table and the public-address announcer calling out the time.
“It messed with your mind,” Jackson said. “You can’t pay attention to the announcer and what he is saying. It was clock management, and we didn’t have it. It’s tough not seeing the clock.”
The Timberwolves played it cool. With assistant coach Don Zierden using a stopwatch on the sideline, Cassell made a jumper right after the delay. Garnett followed with a basket, after Peja Stojakovic’s missed layup, to make it 110-104. Cassell’s three-pointer made it a nine-point lead, and he and Garnett made two free throws each before Chris Webber stopped the run with a three-pointer.
Seattle 103, Indiana 95 -- Rashard Lewis scored 22 points, Ray Allen had 19 points and a season-high nine assists, and the SuperSonics won a matchup of conference leaders at Seattle.
Vladimir Radmanovic and Antonio Daniels each had 14 points for the Western Conference-leading Sonics, who won their fourth in a row in improving their NBA-best record to 13-2. Seattle also remained undefeated at home.
James Jones scored a career-high 27 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers (10-4). Indiana, depleted by injuries and suspensions, saw its three-game winning streak stopped.
Portland 83, New Jersey 71 -- Zach Randolph had 23 points and 15 rebounds at Portland, Ore., to help hand the Nets their ninth loss in a row.
Derek Anderson scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half for the Trail Blazers, who handed the 2-11 Nets their fifth consecutive loss on the road.
Miami 106, Boston 104 -- Dwyane Wade had 25 points, and Shaquille O’Neal scored 21 and tied a team record by making all nine of his shot attempts at Miami.
Paul Pierce missed one of two free throws with five seconds left that would have tied it for Boston, which lost its fourth in a row. He made the second to bring the Celtics within one before Christian Laettner made one to restore Miami’s two-point lead with 3.1 seconds left.
Boston had one more chance to tie, but Ricky Davis’ double-clutched baseline jumper sailed long at the buzzer.
Washington 114, Toronto 109 -- Larry Hughes had a season-high 33 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in an overtime game at Toronto for his first career triple-double.
Hughes scored 21 points in the fourth quarter for the Wizards, who rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final 6:29 of regulation.
Gilbert Arenas scored 27 points, and Brendan Haywood had a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won four of five games. Washington was without Coach Eddie Jordan, who was hospitalized because of a blood clot in his left leg and is expected to return for the Wizards’ next game.