Timberwolves beat 76ers 119-84

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

PHILADELPHIA (AP) &045; Eddie Griffin is making the most of his latest chance.

Griffin scored a career-high 27 points and Latrell Sprewell had 24 in his return from a one-game suspension, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 119-84 over the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points for Minnesota, which has won six of seven.

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&uot;It meant a lot to me that I had a good game,&uot; said Griffin, a Philly native. &uot;I had a lot of friends and family watching.&uot;

Sprewell returned to the lineup after being suspended by the NBA for yelling a sexual vulgarity at a fan in Los Angeles on Saturday night. He shot 9-of-14.

Andre Iguodala had 18 points and Marc Jackson added 16 for the Sixers, who lost their sixth straight.

Philadelphia hasn’t won since beating Washington in overtime on Nov. 26. The Sixers lost five in a row on the road, including a one-point loss to Houston.

&uot;We’re not a real good team right now and I take full responsibility,&uot; Sixers coach Jim O’Brien said. &uot;We’re not playing to our capabilities. We have the personnel to make the playoffs.&uot;

Griffin scored 12 of his points in the second quarter as Minnesota built a double-digit lead that it carried throughout the second half. He finished 9-of-21, including seven 3-pointers, and also grabbed 11 rebounds.

A 12-0 run by the Wolves early in the third quarter put the game out of reach. Sprewell hit a pair of jumpers during the run and Wally Szczerbiak ended it with an 18-footer that made it 73-52.

The seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft, Griffin was better known for his troubles off the court. He’s been a pleasant addition for the Wolves, averaging 9.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 21.8 minutes coming in.

Griffin was released by New Jersey in February, less than two months after signing with the team in hopes of resurrecting his career. The Houston Rockets cut him last December, and he earned a roster spot with the Wolves after signing a contract in October.

&uot;I’m just staying focused and positive,&uot; Griffin said. &uot;I’m doing a lot of extra shooting and working hard. The veterans have been a big help to me.&uot;

Griffin’s emergence gives the Wolves a perfect complement to Garnett, the reigning NBA MVP.

&uot;We made a decision when we got him to give him enough responsibility and keep him improving,&uot; Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. &uot;He and K.G. are a great match, one inside and one outside. He’s an unbelievable outside threat and he blocks shots. He’s been very productive.&uot;