Player note: almost the entire season Chris Gatling has been playing with
both thumbs wrap.  At various times the wrapping and/or thumbs has
bothered him and caused turnovers and missed layups.

Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves.

It looked like the beginning of a good game with the game tied 8-8 with
8:45 left.  Loren Meyer had 6 of those points, but also collected his 2nd
foul and didn't do anything for the rest of the game.  The game was tied 
again at 14-14 with 5:45 left after a 3-pointer by Jason Kidd.  The Mavs 
had a small lead at 18-14, but Minnesota cut that down to 21-20 with 3 
minutes left on a pretty pass from Terry Porter to Kevin Garnett for the 
slam.  Dallas was up 23-22 after 1.  It was a streaky quarter as Dallas 
went on a 7-0 run and Minnestoa went on a 6-0 run.  Chris Gatling had 7 
points and Meyer had 6 points.  Both Garnett and Tom Gugliotta had 8 points.

The Mavs went up 28-22 with 10:40 left on a 3-point play by George
McCloud.  It was the Gatling-Gugliotta show.  With 7 minutes left in the
quarter, Gatling had 13 points and 6 rebounds and Gugliotta had 12 points.
The Mavs were up 38-30 with 5:50 left when Minnesota went on a 6-0 run
over the next 1:20.  Dallas responded with a 7-2 run to go up 45-38 with 2
minutes left.  The Mavs were up 47-41 at the half.  It was very much a
running game for Dallas.  The Mavs scored 32 points in the paint and
Minnesota scored 22 points in the paint.  Gatling had 15 points including
7-9 FG and 7 rebounds as 8 Dallas players scored (10 played).  Gugliotta
had 16 points and Garnett had 9 points and 7 rebounds.  Dallas shot 4-9

Minnesota took full advantage of halftime and came out with tighter
defense as the Mavs' running game disappeared.  Doug West scored the first
6 points of the quarter as Minnesota went on a 13-0 run to open the
quarter.  Jason Kidd finally scored for the Mavs on a 17-footer 3 minutes
into the 3rd.  Minnesota was up 60-52 with 7:15 left.  Dallas managed to
cut that lead down to 64-61 with 4 minutes left.  Both teams went dry and
sloppy over the next 2 1/2 minutes as the only scoring was a Minnesota
free throw.  Minnesota was up 69-65 after 3.  West had 12 points in the
quarter and Porter had 10 points in the quarter as the two combined for
9-10 shooting.  Kidd had 11 points in the quarter for a total of 14 points
and Gatling had 18 points for the game.  The Mavs only made 7-17 FG in the
quarter and committeed 7 turnovers.

Then came the 4th quarter.  The Mavs were ice cold and sticking to the
perimeter - George McCloud (career 79%) even missed 2 free throws.  Jim
Jackson finally scored for the Mavs by converting the 3-point play with
7:45 left as Minnesota led 74-68.  Jackson scored 5 points to Minnesota's
6 over the next 2:45.  On a Gugliotta 10-footer, Minnesota led 84-74 with
4:14 left (Gatling hit 1-2 FT to join Jackson in scoring in the 4th).  The
Mavs whittled that lead down to 88-82 with 2:20 left as Gatling rebounded
a Jamal Mashburn missed free throw (he made the first), jammed it in, was
fouled, and converted the extra.  Gugliotta swished an 18-footer and
Mashburn hit 2 free throws to put the game at 90-84 with 1:40 left.
Garnett hit the short turn around jumper.  Dallas turned the ball over and
Sam Mitchell hit 2 free throws.  The rest was just details - a lot of free
throws, a Gugliotta slam, and a Jackson tip-in.  Minnesota won 100-90.

Dallas shot 5-23 FG in the 4th quarter.  Gatling had one of those makes
and Jackson had the rest (well, one of them came off a Garnett goaltend -
that kid has hops, if you have seen him play then you might want to check
out his only national TV appears Dec 10 on TNT vs Houston).  The Mavs
missed 12 free throws in the game.  Minnesota's extremely tall front line
of 6-11 Garnett, 6-10 Gugliotta, and 7-2 Stojko Vrankovic caused the much
shorter Mavs many defensive problems.  The big 3 also combined for 9
blocks in the game.  Gugliotta had a great game with 30 points including
14-20 FG and 11 rebounds.  Gatling was the only Mav that shone with 26
points and 14 rebounds.

Flip Saunders: "We very easily could have been 5-2 or 6-1.  The one thing 
about this team, we don't have a sense of urgency when we fall behind.  
We don't panic, and that'll happen if you believe in your defense."
Tom Gugliotta: "We've learned a lot the last couple of weeks.  We are 
going out and playing hard.  We are off to a good start, but it's only 
been seven games, there is a lot more to go.  We definitely expected to 
win tonight and Tuesday night and all our home games.  We are happy about 
it but we have to go on the road to New York.  We are happy we played 
well but we can play better."

Jim Cleamons: "The third quarter was our worst.  We did not get shots and 
turned over the ball, and our team was gone.  It was nothing Minnesota 
did, other than being more on the ball than us.  We played a pretty good 
first half, so I don't know why we were flat in the third quarter."

Cleamons: "I don't know why you wouldn't be ready.  You played a good
first half.  You have a lead, you had some momentum.  You know the other
team is going to come with a sense of urgency to start the 3rd quarter.
If you're a competitor, you're going to respond in kind."

Cleamons: "It was nothing that Minnesota did, other than they got up and 
were a little more aggressive.  We just didn't respond."

Cleamons: "When we got behind, it's this team's nature to run to the 
3-point line.  We had everybody on the perimeter and one guy [Gatling]
fighting four for rebounds.  There's no way we should be settling for a 
3-pointer with 18 seconds left on the shot clock.  It's a habit, but every 
time we shoot that shot, we're shooting ourself in the foot."

Cleamons: "First, you form the habits.  Then the habits form you.  Where
we're at now is the struggle to break bad habits."

Cleamons: "The fact is [Garnett and Gugliotta] have had a year together.  
We knew early on that wasn't going to be the best matchup for us.  
Gugliotta had a heck of a game."

Jim Jackson: "I think the Wolves are playing better than ever.  They ran 
the offense very well looking for second and third options in the second 
half and we had some good looks, but had trouble getting the ball inside
where we could get some free throws."

Jackson: "Guys have got to start taking free throws more seriously in
practice.  It came back to haunt us tonight.  It would've been a different 
game if we would've made a couple of those."

Jackson: "They came out [of halftime] with a higher level of enthusiasm 
and they devastated us.  As a captain, I've got to make sure that doesn't 
happen. I couldn't sense it coming out of the locker room, but it's too 
bad because we had this game under control."

Jamal Mashburn who shot 0-7 FG: "It was one of those nights.  I couldn't 
throw  in the ocean if I was standing in the arena by myself."

Derek Harper: "You've got to be ready in the 3rd.  that's the most
important part of the game.  I don't care if you're up or down.  Just
about every team in the league comes out and tries to establish themselves

Harper on the free throw shooting: "That's something we've laughed and
played about, but it comes around.  Coach Salmi was been warning us.  I
don't think, as a pro, you really pay attention to how important it is
until you have a game like this.  I mean, that was embarrassing.  But
guess what?  It's too late."
Dal-Min boxscore

Patricia Bender
Not affiliated with or representing anyone besides myself.