The night love returned to Target Center

We arrived too late to Minnesota to experience the Minnesota Twins championship teams, but other than those, we’re hard pressed to imagine a more magical moment in Minnesota sports than last evening’s Timberwolves game and the return of Kevin Garnett.

We don’t much care for rejection and while we understand sports is business, we take it personally when people spurn us. Remember when Frank Sonntag, the executive director of the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, left us after 10 months, hinting that it wasn’t him, it was us? That one hurt.

When someone wants to be here, it affirms us.

Last night, Garnett owned Target Center, and brought show business back to the NBA franchise.

(Less quality on this one, but a better feel for the crowd reaction)

After lifting up the full house, the team let it down, scoring only one point in the first 8 minutes.

Same old Timberwolves? No concept of the moment.

“I think how we started the game shows how shocked we were,” Ricky Rubio said. “We were like, `Damn, this is big.”

They ended the first quarter down 20-11. In previous days, that’s all it would’ve taken to beat the Timberwolves.

But this night was different. The team calmed down, played defense, and after being tied at halftime, walked away with a 97-to-77 win over one of the Eastern Conference’s better teams.

One of the loudest cheers of the night was this guy — shirtless dancing guy, a relic from Garnett’s earlier stay in Minnesota when he was known as “jiggly boy.”

Garnett finished with 5 points and 8 rebounds in 18 minutes of action. He also might’ve saved NBA basketball in a city desperate to love somebody who loves it back.

“I did not know the city missed me like this,” Garnett said. “I don’t think that you can ever wish or ever think the city loves you like this. But to see it is reality and I’m very appreciative.”

The crowd booed a few times last night. It was usually directed at Washington’s Kris Humphries. His crime?

He left us.

Related video: Feeling and returning the love: KG's return (Star Tribune).