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Garnett praises, pounds

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MINNEAPOLIS — With 19 points and 15 rebounds Friday night, Kevin Garnett was not exactly kind to the Jazz.

A couple of days before Minnesota's 93-86 win, however, the Timberwolves All-Star had nothing but nice things to say about the visitors from Utah.

"So many times people label greatness on victories, on wins, on stats, and I've always viewed greatness on how someone plays, night in and night out. Karl Malone, John Stockton — they've had 20 years of bringing it every night," Garnett told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "They've been bringing their hard hats, their lunch. They bring it every single night.

"Even though they don't have the rings, even though you guys (media members) don't view them as great, a young guy like myself, I label them as great because I respect people who, every single night, find a way to get it done. And I think the respect grows throughout the league when you do that — not just from one player's standpoint, but from the league's standpoint."

GARNETT VS. MOSS: Earlier this NFL season, much was made of comments from Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, who essentially suggested he plays hard only when he really wants to.

Garnett, though, is revered in Minnesota as someone who never takes a play off: In the clever written words of Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere, "Garnett is the anti-Moss."

DON'T BLINK: Saturday's game was played in one hour and 53 minutes — just 11 minutes longer than the Jazz's quickest game, a 1:42 affair vs. Washington in 1979, when the franchise was located in New Orleans.

MISC.: The Timberwolves were without forward Joe Smith, who missed his third straight game due to a bruised calf . . . Jazz backup center Greg Ostertag played 13 minutes with no apparent sign of the moderate ankle sprain he sustained in Utah's game against Philadelphia last Saturday . . . Despite being rather under the weather, starting small forward Donyell Marshall had 12 and nine rebounds in 33 minutes for Utah . . . Jazz reserve center John Amaechi, who did not play Friday, and Timberwolves starting center Rasho Nesterovic were teammates on the 1997-98 Virtus Bologna Italian League team that won the Euroleague Championship . . . Cigar in hand, Minnesota governor and former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura watched Friday's game. Ventura's wardrobe: black sweats and a New York Fire Department cap.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com