Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Garnett's impact in the box score was modest, but his return to Minnesota was satisfying in the Timberwolves' 97-77 win over the Washington Wizards.
"I don't know if I've ever been in a game in the NBA where there was the energy and the enthusiasm in that building tonight," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "And it's because of one guy."
Garnett finished with five points, eight rebounds and two blocks as Minnesota won for the second time in three games.
Kevin Martin paced the Timberwolves with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, Andrew Wiggins added 19 points and Nikola Pekovic contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Wizards took an early 15-point lead, but soon collapsed in their fifth straight loss. Otto Porter led Washington with 13 points, Nene chipped in with 12, and Garrett Temple netted 11.
"It's tough times right now," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said. "You have to fight through it."
After Garnett was honored with a video tribute and standing ovation during player introductions, his return to Minnesota could not have had a worse start.
Martin lost the ball on the Timberwolves' first possession of the game, and they went more than half the opening period before Pekovic hit their first shot from the floor, a layup at 5:27 that made it a 13-3 game.
Marcin Gortat's three-point play gave Washington a 15-point lead, but Minnesota rallied late to cut the deficit to 20-11 after 12 minutes of play.
An 8-0 run in the second quarter, with five points from Martin, got Minnesota within one. With 3 1/2 minutes to go before the break, Garnett hit his first field goal of the game and his block as time expired sent the teams into the locker room deadlocked at 42-42.
Wiggins' dunk out of halftime gave the Timberwolves their first lead of the game, and he scored seven points in less than a minute later in the period as Minnesota pulled away for a 74-60 lead after three quarters.
Nene's layup with 4:22 to play cut Minnesota's advantage to 13 points, but the Timberwolves put the game away with a 10-0 run. An emphatic Wiggins slam started the burst and a three-point play from Martin and desperation alley-oop from Ricky Rubio to Martin soon followed.
Garnett started and played 18 minutes ... Garnett's former teammate, Washington's Paul Pierce, sat out with a knee injury ... Martin scored 20-plus points for the sixth straight game ... Gortat had a game-high 15 rebounds ... Wizards guard John Wall had five points and 10 assists.