Minnesota 114, L.A. Lakers 110 (OT)
Wolves Win L.A. Late Show, Take 2-1 Lead
LOS ANGELES, April 24 (Ticker) --
The Minnesota Timberwolves overcame the
loss of Kevin Garnett
and questionable officiating to post one
of the biggest victories in team history.
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After Garnett collected 33 points and 14 rebounds in regulation,
the Timberwolves made their free throws in overtime and escaped
with a 114-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game
Three of their Western Conference first-round series.
Minnesota never has won a postseason series but has recorded two
wins in a playoff series for just the second time and first
since losing a five-game series to Seattle in 1998. The
Timberwolves regained home-court advantage after squandering a
five-point lead with 22 seconds left in regulation.
Garnett, who had just two fouls heading into the fourth quarter,
picked up three in a three-minute span. He fouled out on the
first play of the extra period, leaving Minnesota vulnerable in
a game it had in its grasp.
"I felt miserable," Garnett said. "I didn't know if I was going
to be a T-Wolve cheerleader with pom-poms."
Part of the reason the game went to overtime was questionable
officiating. Kobe Bryant
completed a controversial four-point
play late in regulation after Wally Szczerbiak
was whistled for
a foul, although he did not appear to touch Bryant.
Szczerbiak also had his jersey grabbed by Lakers forward Rick
on the next play but was called for stepping out of bounds,
setting the stage for Bryant to tie it with a foul shot with 12
seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"There were some interesting plays, interesting calls, and you
can't get frustrated," Szczerbiak said. "I didn't touch the
guy, what are you going to do? Even though I fouled Kobe and he
made the four-point play and it went into OT, we knew we were
going to win."
With Garnett on the bench, Los Angeles had a golden opportunity
and took its last lead on two free throws by rookie Jannero
with 47 seconds to go. Pargo went to the line after
Szczerbiak was called for another foul, although he again did
not appear to make contact.
was fouled at the other end and made a pair from the
line to give Minnesota a 109-108 advantage with 24 seconds left
and Bryant missed a contested shot in the lane for Los Angeles.
Two foul shots by Marc Jackson
made it 111-108 with 11 seconds
left and the Timberwolves elected to foul Shaquille O'Neal
split a pair, but Jackson did the same with seven seconds left
for a 112-109 advantage.
That gave the Lakers a chance to tie, but Bryant's 3-pointer hit
the back rim with 2.6 seconds to go. O'Neal was fouled and
made the second free throw to cut the lead to two, although he
was trying to miss to give Los Angeles a chance to get the
rebound and tie it.
"The reason we're in this position is we're a team," Garnett
said. "Everyone needed to believe in one another, and we've got
a lot of confidence in ourselves." Two fouls shots by Troy
with two seconds left finally sealed the win for
Minnesota and snapped Los Angeles' 15-game home winning streak.
"We said going in that we're playing the defending champs. A
lot of times you have to go through a situation and establish
yourselves, whether you win a series or don't win a series,"
Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "The big question for us
was would we be able to come back and maintain that intensity on
the road in a pivotal game that was extremely important for
both teams. And we came out and we didn't back down."
Hudson scored 27 points, one game after his team playoff-record
37-point outburst. But the postgame talk centered around the
Garnett's sixth foul was questionable as he made minimal contact
with Robert Horry
12 seconds into the extra session. Minnesota
had a 10-2 edge in free-throw attempts in the first half before
the Lakers - and the officials - turned that around.
"That's part of the game," Trent said. "They're going to call
what they're going to call."
Los Angeles went to the line 15 times in the fourth quarter
while Minnesota did not get to the stripe until Garnett was
fouled intentionally with 33 seconds left. But the Lakers made
just 10 free throws and shot just 61 percent (22-of-36) from the
"Some guys were disappointed, the guys that didn't make the free
throws that could have helped us win the game didn't make plays
the way they wanted to," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said.
O'Neal was 8-of-16 from the line.
"We did not play our game tonight for some reason," he said.
"We just have to get it back."
While Garnett and fellow starter Rasho Nesterovic
Lakers superstars O'Neal and Bryant each picked up just one
foul. Los Angeles saw starters Fox and Derek Fisher
Bryant scored 30 points and O'Neal collected 28 and 17 rebounds,
but the duo combined to make just 20-of-54 shots as Los Angeles
shot just below 40 percent (39-of-98). Fisher was 6-of-9 from
beyond the arc and scored 23 points.
"We did a decent job late in the fourth quarter to make a
rally," Bryant said. "We were out of the ballgame, but we were
fortunate to get back in it and put the game in overtime."
Hudson's jumper with 6:24 left in the third quarter gave
Minnesota a 69-56 lead, an advantage that was down to 80-71
heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Lakers took control to start the period and seized their
first lead since the first quarter on two free throws by Fox
that made it 89-87 with 5:28 left in regulation.
After a reverse layup by Szczerbiak tied it, Garnett nailed a
jumper for his first points in nearly 16 minutes. He added a
lane jumper and Hudson's steal and layup provided a 95-89 lead
with 2:31 to go.
Garnett and Hudson each made a pair at the line around a dunk by
Bryant to leave Minnesota with a 101-96 advantage. Szczerbiak
found himself at the center of two controversial plays - his
foul on Bryant's 3-pointer and his turnover that gave Los
Angeles a chance to win.
scored the first four points of the extra
session. Peeler, Szczerbiak, Jackson, Hudson and Trent were the
five players who finished the game.
"We're not out there thinking," Peeler said. "We're out there
playing ball, and that's what got us here."
Los Angeles lost for just the sixth time in 32 playoff games at
Staples Center, which hosts Game Two on Sunday afternoon.