Wolves Snap Road Skid vs. Lakers
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 (Ticker) --
The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los
Angeles Lakers might want to work on their free-throw shooting.
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In a game that featured numerous missed free throws down the
stretch, Kevin Garnett
recorded his league-leading 16th
double-double as the Timberwolves snapped a 16-game road losing
streak against the Lakers, 110-107.
Garnett scored 23 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and handed out six
assists. But the Timberwolves nearly blew an eight-point lead
in the final 41 seconds before holding on for their first road
win over the Lakers since December 5, 1993 - when Garnett was a
high school junior.
"You got to think to yourself that it's going to happen sooner
or later," Garnett said. "You try and try for the odds to be in
your favor. We put ourselves in a position to win. We've
always been in a position to win in the past, but for some
reason it never came through."
After Garnett made 1-of-2 free throws to extend Minnesota's lead
to 105-97, Los Angeles stormed back to climb within 106-105 on
a 3-pointer by Kobe Bryant
with 10.9 seconds remaining.
made a pair from the line 1.3 seconds later, but
fouled Bryant attempting another 3-pointer with 7.2
seconds left. Bryant made the first two free throws but missed
the third, and Smith grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 6.3
seconds to play.
"The third one didn't fall for me," Bryant said. "It rattled in
and just came out, bottom of the rim and just popped out. I
guess it just wasn't meant to be. It's like Tiger (Woods)
putting and the thing just hits the lip and just rolls off."
"We wanted to foul him as soon as he caught it," Minnesota coach
Flip Saunders said. "We didn't want him to get a 3 off. He
made a good play. If we wouldn't have fouled he would have made
Smith made the first free throw to make it 109-107, but missed
the second. Gill grabbed the rebound and was fouled but sank
only 1-of-2 from the stripe, giving the Lakers five seconds to
tie the game.
Bryant dribbled downcourt and attempted a 3-pointer from the
right side. But with Gill in his face, Bryant threw up an
airball, and the Timberwolves escaped with a victory.
"We couldn't sustain the effort," said Lakers coach Phil
Jackson, whose squad lost for the third time in four games. "I
don't think we're ready yet and conditioned as a team to play a
full game with the effort necessary to win against a good
scored a season-high 17 points and Troy Hudson
for the Wolves, who have won five of their last seven games.
had 31 points and 13 rebounds and Bryant 22 and
11 assists for the Lakers, who had won their first six matchups
with Minnesota at the Staples Center.
"We just have to get back on track," O'Neal said. "We made a
lot of silly mistakes. We didn't have good help team defense
and it's all about us right now, we just have to do some soul
searching and everyone has to do their part."
The Timberwolves outshot the Lakers, 51 percent (40-of-79) to 46
percent (44-of-95). Minnesota made 6-of-8 shots from the arc,
Los Angeles 3-of-15.
Los Angeles led, 29-28, after one quarter and 50-48 before
closing the half on a 10-2 run.
The Lakers led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter and
74-64 after a jumper by Derek Fisher
with 4:06 to play in the
period. With O'Neal on the bench, the Timberwolves closed with
a 12-2 run and opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer by
"I thought he had gotten tired in the third quarter and he
couldn't get up and down the court, so he obviously needed to
come out of the game," Jackson said of O'Neal. "So I had an
oportunity to take him out with four minutes to go in the third
quarter and we had had a good run and then went 3-for-13 down
the stretch and just couldn't find second shots and chances to
get the ball back in the hoop."
Minnesota extended its lead to 89-82 on a pair of free throws by
with 8:38 to play. The Lakers scored the next
seven points, tying the game on a dunk by O'Neal with 6:12 to
The teams went back and forth until Minnesota took the lead for
good, 94-93, on a jumper by Joe Smith with 4:27 remaining.
"We're kinda beating ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot,"
said O'Neal, whose team fell to 3-3 since he came off the
injured list. "This is just another game that we gave up
tonight and it's just about us, we made silly mistakes. Other
teams capitalize on our mistakes. We just have to get better."
"We do have to keep working on closing a game out a lot better,"
Smith said. "We played a great game for 47 minutes and that
last minute seemed to take forever."