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Minnesota 119, L.A. Lakers 91
Wolves Wallop Lakers, Even Up Series

Garnett's 20 boards were one short of the franchise playoff record.
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MINNEAPOLIS, April 22 (Ticker) -- Of all the explosive performances in this year's NBA playoffs, Troy Hudson may have turned in the most unlikely one of all.

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Hudson scored a playoff franchise-record 37 points and handed out 10 assists as the Timberwolves evened their Western Conference first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers at a game apiece, 119-91.

Minnesota also got a huge game from Kevin Garnett, who collected a playoff career-high 35 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists. Garnett notched his second double-double of the series.

"We couldn't have had a good performance," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "We couldn't have had a great performance. We needed to have a superior performance."

Los Angeles cruised to a 117-98 victory in Game One on Sunday, exerting the dominance it has shown en route to three straight NBA titles. That game also seemed to illustrate the conventional wisdom that Minnesota did not have enough to compete in this series and would struggle to win a game.

But Hudson did his part to dispel that notion by scoring six points in a 10-2 spurt to open the game and Minnesota never trailed. He nailed a 3-pointer over Shaquille O'Neal just before the halftime buzzer to open a 57-43 cushion.

"I'm just happy we were able to pull off the win and I give credit to my teammates for getting me open," Hudson said. "Against the world champs, on national TV and in the big game - that's what you dream of."

The Timberwolves began the second half with a 13-4 tear to turn the game into a rout. Hudson scored five points, including a 3-pointer for a 70-47 cushion with 8:55 left in the third quarter.

Hudson scored 19 points in the first half and easily surpassed his playoff career high. He had little trouble taking advantage of Lakers guard Derek Fisher and converted 15-of-16 free throws.

"He was a lot more aggressive," Garnett said. "I went to Troy and said to him, 'Don't change anything you've been doing all year.' I was telling him to just play. The (heck) with all of that commercial stuff. We know what we've got to do."

O'Neal and Kobe Bryant each scored 27 points to lead Los Angeles, which suffered its worst conference postseason defeat since a 106-77 loss to Portland in Game Two of the 2000 Western Conference finals.

"We ran into a buzzsaw," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They were very aggressive and took us out of the rhythm of the game."

O'Neal also grabbed 14 rebounds, one day after attending his grandfather's funeral in South Carolina. Bryant made just 9-of-28 shots as the Lakers shot 36 percent (33-of-91).

A basket by O'Neal got the Lakers within 39-38 with 5:20 remaining before halftime. Marc Jackson responded with a basket, Garnett drained two free throws and Wally Szczerbiak converted a layup on a fast break to restore a seven-point advantage.

On a play symbolic of Bryant's night, Anthony Peeler stole the ball from the Lakers superstar in the backcourt and converted a layup for a 54-43 lead with 24 seconds to go in the half. The lead never dipped below double digits thereafter.

"The difference tonight was that Minnesota was scrappy," Bryant said. "We lost the battle to loose balls and they were more aggressive on defense. They played better than we did tonight."

Szczerbiak scored 21 points and Jackson added 12 off the bench for Minnesota, which shot 67 percent (22-of-33) in the first half. The Timberwolves finished the game at 56 percent (40-of-72).

Minnesota also did the job on the glass, holding a commanding 52-35 advantage. Garnett recovered plenty of missed shots by the Lakers with 19 defensive rebounds.

"We just got after it," Garnett said. "We've got a lot of confidence in ourselves on both ends and we just got after it. I'm not going to say we did something special."

Los Angeles shot 36 percent (33-of-91) and O'Neal and Bryant received little support. Fisher's eight points made him the team's third leading scorer.

The Lakers got within 96-83 after O'Neal split a pair at the line with 5:23 left to play. Bryant had a chance to get Los Angeles closer, but misfired on a 3-pointer.

Garnett answered by throwing in a hook over O'Neal to trigger eight straight points for the Timberwolves. Hudson's two free throws capped it for a 104-83 bulge with 2:38 left to play.

"We pressured up on defense and were aggressive on the offensive end," Hudson said. "You have to be aggressive against these guys."

A 3-pointer by Mike Wilks gave Minnesota its largest lead at 119-89 with 19 seconds to go.

Game Three is Thursday in Los Angeles.

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