Minnesota 119, L.A. Lakers 91
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.
NBA TV highlights from|
Wolves take over:
Play of the Day:
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
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
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
"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
a layup on a fast break to restore a seven-point advantage.
On a play symbolic of Bryant's night, Anthony Peeler
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
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
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.