Flynn rallies Timberwolves over Nets in opener
MINNEAPOLIS -- The young Minnesota Timberwolves sure showed some spirit on opening night. Jonny Flynn scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Wolves erase a 19-point deficit and Damien Wilkins' putback at the buzzer lifted Mi...
MINNEAPOLIS -- The young Minnesota Timberwolves sure showed some spirit on opening night.
Jonny Flynn scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Wolves erase a 19-point deficit and Damien Wilkins' putback at the buzzer lifted Minnesota to a 95-93 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.
Minnesota trailed by 16 points with less than 7 minutes to play. But the rookie Flynn scored 11 points the rest of the way and the Timberwolves closed the game on a 24-6 run to steal the victory.
Brook Lopez had 27 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for the Nets. But he didn't score in the final period and Al Jefferson blocked a shot with 25 seconds to go that would have given New Jersey the lead.
The defensive gem made up for a quiet night on the other end for Jefferson. He had nine points on 2 for 9 shooting.
Many questioned why the Timberwolves chose Flynn, a point guard out of Syracuse, with the sixth overall pick immediately after taking Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio at No. 5.
Now they know.
With Rubio playing over in Spain, Flynn was relentless in taking the ball to the basket in the final period. He either scored on his drives to the hoop or wound up at the foul line, where he made 8 of 10 free throws in the game.
Devin Harris had a rough shooting night for the Nets. He managed just 14 points on 4 for 13 shooting to go with eight assists and six rebounds.
The Nets led by 19 points midway through the third quarter, with the 7-foot Lopez bullying the smaller Timberwolves on the low block.
But Minnesota ripped off a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull within four at 87-83 with 4 minutes to go.
Flynn's two free throws gave the Timberwolves the lead with 34 seconds to go and then Wilkins polished it off with a putback of Flynn's missed jumper at the buzzer. Wilkins finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Yi Jianlian had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets and rookie Terrence Williams added 15 points and 10 boards in his first game.
But Flynn stole the show, hand-delivering a victory to Kurt Rambis in his regular season debut as Wolves coach.
Rambis was hired in August after serving for years as Phil Jackson's top assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers. His job is to turn around a team that has not been to the playoffs since 2004, and Rambis and new team president David Kahn have been adamant that it will take some time.
Rambis said before the game he just wanted to see some fight and spirit from his young and rebuilding squad.
Flynn clearly got the message.
Notes: Nets reserve F Jarvis Hayes injured his left hamstring in the first quarter and did not return. ... The collapse prevented New Jersey's first win at Target Center since Nov. 23, 2002. ... The newest Timberwolf, center Nathan Jawai, was inactive for the game. He was acquired in a trade from Dallas last week and Rambis said he could see action against Shaquille O'Neal and Cleveland on Friday.