What's rarer than an easy Chicago Bulls victory? Try a Minnesota Timberwolves win in Charlotte.
Both happened Tuesday night as the Bulls toppled Cleveland 87-74 and the Timberwolves won for the first time in their history at Charlotte, defeating the Hornets 95-89.
"Someone mentioned to us how long it had been during the morning shootaround, and I think it stuck in everyone's mind for the rest of the day," said Kevin Garnett, who led the Timberwolves with 22 points and 13 rebounds as they snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Hornets.
"As a franchise, we haven't always done well, and we allowed them to create a record that we are not proud of. But we are a team making strides, trying to erase some of that, and tonight we took another step in doing that."
Minnesota improved to 8-16 overall against Charlotte and 1-11 in The Coliseum. In doing so, the Timberwolves won their fourth consecutive game.
David Wesley led the Hornets with 21 points.
Chicago won for the fifth time in 11 games since the All-Star break, although the Bulls still have the NBA's worst record at 11-48.
Reserve Marcus Fizer led the winners with 17 points, while Ron Artest and Elton Brand scored 14 points apiece, Brad Miller had 13 and Fred Hoiberg 12.
"I was thinking that we have been in a lot of games since the break and won some of them," Fizer said. "So winning is not such a strange thing anymore."
It was defense that keyed Chicago's win. Cleveland was held to 35 percent shooting by the Bulls, whose 13-point victory margin was their second highest of the season.
Matt Harpring scored 16 for the Cavaliers, who have lost 17 of 19 games.
"Getting a few wins," Chicago coach Tim Floyd said, "has really helped our confidence."
SPURS 101, SUPERSONICS 73: Tim Duncan scored 22 points and David Robinson added 19 points and nine rebounds in San Antonio's romp at Seattle.
Robinson also had three blocked shots in a first half that ended with San Antonio up by 24. Seattle never got closer than 13 after that as the Sonics had a season-low point total.
The Spurs have won 18 of 22 games since dropping four straight in mid-January.
Gary Payton scored 28 points to lead the Sonics, who were without starters Rashard Lewis and Brent Barry, both out with groin pulls.
GRIZZLIES 105, TRAIL BLAZERS 97: Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 26 points as Vancouver won in Portland for the first time since Nov. 3, 1995 — the Grizzlies' NBA debut.
Scottie Pippen, Bonzi Wells and Damon Stoudamire each scored 15 points to lead the Blazers, who lost All-Star forward Rasheed Wallace to yet another ejection, his fifth of the season. Wallace received two quick technical fouls early in the third quarter.
LAKERS 97, WARRIORS 85: Shaquille O'Neal celebrated his 29th birthday with 26 points, 17 rebounds and a dominant defensive game as the Lakers won for the seventh time in eight games.
The last time the Lakers visited Golden State, Kobe Bryant and Antawn Jamison each scored 51 points. This time, Bryant scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, while Mookie Blaylock scored 25 points and Jamison had 21 for the Warriors, who lost for the 12th time in 13 games.
SUNS 93, NUGGETS 82: Shawn Marion, playing for the first time in 10 days, scored 22 points to lead Phoenix to victory at Denver.
Tom Gugliotta added 25 points and Jason Kidd had eight points, eight rebounds and 10 assists to help the Suns defeat the Nuggets for the second time in four days. Phoenix has won seven straight over Denver and 16 of 17.
The Nuggets, who have lost four straight and 15 of 19, played without starting point guard Nick Van Exel (bruised knee) and All-Star forward Antonio McDyess (dislocated kneecap). Robert Pack, starting in place of Van Exel, led the Nuggets with 22 points.
KNICKS 97, PACERS 83: New York rallied from a 30-13 deficit to beat Indiana.
Kurt Thomas scored 19 points, Latrell Sprewell had 16 and Mark Jackson 15 for the Knicks, who had six double-figure scorers. Marcus Camby returned from a two-game absence and had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Travis Best had 18, Jalen Rose added 16 and Reggie Miller 14 for the visiting Pacers. Miller went 0-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter and scored just three points in the final three quarters.
KINGS 98, RAPTORS 91: Chris Webber, returning from a 10-game absence, had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Sacramento over Toronto.
The Kings survived a first-half stretch that saw them miss 21 of 23 shots in running their home record to a league-best 24-5.
Vince Carter and Antonio Davis both scored 25 points for the Raptors, who had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped.