Karl Malone will reflect on his individual accomplishments when he's finished playing. That is, while the rest of the NBA contends with a peaking Kevin Garnett.
Garnett had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Minnesota withstood Malone's historic 35-point performance as the Timberwolves defeated the Utah Jazz, 96-94, on Saturday at Minneapolis.
Malone became the third player in NBA history to score 30,000 points when he made a layup with 8:53 left in the third quarter. The 36-year-old forward joined Wilt Chamberlain and career leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the elite scoring group.
"I'll save my stat sheet," said the 23-year old Garnett, who looks forward to the day he can tell folk tales of playing with Malone.
"Save your videos. Save today's game. Save the stat sheets if you have them," Garnett told reporters. "This is history."
"It's amazing," Utah's Jeff Hornacek said of his teammate's feat. "He does it night in and night out. You don't get to 30,000 without being consistent."
Malone, who had 13 rebounds, wasn't as willing to talk about his statistics. Utah has lost three straight for the first time since losing four in a row from Jan. 6-11, 1997.
"It's not all about the individual," Malone said. "It's a team game. I'll take a win any day. After I finish playing, then I'll kick back and think about it."
Anthony Peeler had 15 points off the bench for Minnesota, which has won 17 of 21 since snapping an eight-game losing streak. It is the first time the Timberwolves have defeated the Jazz three times in a season.
Terrell Brandon had 15 points and seven assists for Minnesota before turning his left ankle with 4:40 left. Brandon was writhing in pain for a few minutes, and had to be carried off the court.
He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which came back negative. Team officials said that he has an ankle sprain and will be reevaluated on Sunday.
"We'll cross our fingers that he's OK," Coach Flip Saunders said. "It was kind of a freak thing that happened. I'm sure, either way, he'll be out a little bit."
Utah trailed 66-57 to start the fourth and got within 85-79 with 2:36 remaining, but Garnett and Peeler each hit shots to extend the lead back to 10.
After the teams traded baskets twice, Stockton hit a shot and two free throws to bring the Jazz within 92-88 with 29.3 seconds left.
Malik Sealy and Sam Mitchell each hit a free throw and Malone and Bryon Russell each made shots to bring Utah within 94-92 with 7.3 seconds left. Garnett had two free throws with 6.5 seconds remaining to seal it.
Jeff Hornacek had 13 points and John Stockton scored 12 for Utah, which looks to get back on track against Seattle on Tuesday.
"It's just part of basketball," Utah Coach Jerry Sloan said of his team's rare losing streak. "We're a little older team now and we played some teams that have worn us down."
Washington 103, Cleveland 98--Rod Strickland had 26 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds and rookie Richmond Hamilton scored a career-high 21 points as the Wizards defeated the Cavaliers at Washington.
Immediately after the game, Gar Heard was fired as coach of the Wizards, and replaced by Golden State assistant Rod Higgins.
Milwaukee 101, Seattle 99--Tim Thomas made George Karl's return to Seattle a success, hitting a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Bucks a victory over the SuperSonics.
Karl, who coached the SuperSonics for 6 1/2 seasons received a 45-second standing ovation when he walked onto the floor.
Portland 81, San Antonio 67--Steve Smith scored 15 points at Portland, Ore., as the Trail Blazers held Tim Duncan to only 12 and shut down the Spurs for second straight game.
Indiana 94, Miami 84--Reggie Miller scored 30 points as the Pacers defeated the Heat at Indianapolis in a battle of Eastern Conference leaders.
Detroit 90, Philadelphia 88--Jerry Stackhouse scored three of his 26 points in the final 35 seconds as the Pistons defeated the 76ers at Auburn Hills, Mich., to end a six-game losing streak.
Toronto 106, Chicago 89--Vince Carter scored 15 of his 22 points in the third quarter at Chicago as the Raptors won their fourth straight.
Charlotte 100, Phoenix 79--Eddie Jones scored 20 points and the Hornets used an 11-0 run early in the third quarter to pull away from the Suns at Charlotte, N.C.
Orlando 103, Atlanta 87--Chris Gatling had 19 points and 12 rebounds at Orlando, Fla., as the Magic ended the Hawks' three-game winning streak.
Dallas 107, Denver 96--Cedric Ceballos scored 25 of his 31 points in the first half as the Mavericks defeated the Nuggets at Dallas, extending Dallas' winning streak to four.
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Karl Malone scored 35 points against Minnesota and became the third NBA player to reach the 30,000-point plateau (seasons in parentheses):
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20): 38,387
Wilt Chamberlain (14): 31,419
Karl Malone (15): 30,023