L.A. Lakers 101, Minnesota 85
LOS ANGELES, May 1 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant
and Shaquille O'Neal
why the Minnesota Timberwolves were given virtually no chance
entering Game 6 of their Western Conference first-round series
with the Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA TV highlights from|
Postgame news conference:
American Express Play of the Day
Bryant scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and
O'Neal just missed a triple-double as the Lakers eliminated the
Timberwolves with a 101-85 victory.
Fifth-seeded Los Angeles has won 13 straight playoff series and
advanced to meet top-seeded San Antonio in a conference
semifinals series that begins on Monday. The three-time
defending champion Lakers have ousted the Spurs each of the last
two seasons, including a five-game triumph in the conference
semifinals last season.
The Spurs swept all four regular-season matchups with the Lakers
this season and Bryant said earlier that maybe Los Angeles
would return the favor with a sweep in the playoffs.
"I think Kobe said something about that, that we could sweep
them," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "That's what Kobe
said. That is a possibility."
O'Neal scored the Lakers' first nine points and finished with 24
points, 17 rebounds and nine assists. Los Angeles placed all
five starters in double figures.
The Timberwolves took a 2-1 lead in the series with a dramatic
overtime victory here last Thursday in which Kevin Garnett
fouled out. But they faltered down the stretch in Game 4,
suffered a 120-90 loss at home in the fifth game and entered
with a 2-6 record in elimination games.
"I am disappointed," Garnett said. "We did a lot of good things
in this series. I think that we tested them a little bit. We
sort of got under their skin a little bit. But they turned it up
when they had to."
After Minnesota scored the final nine points of the third
quarter to get within 69-63, Bryant quickly asserted himself in
the fourth period. He scored the Lakers' first 10 points of the
period, including a turnaround jumper over Anthony Peeler
That outburst triggered an 18-2 tear to open the quarter that
included an alley-oop dunk by Devean George
off a feed from
Bryant. O'Neal's two free throws ended it and made it 87-65 with
over seven minutes left.
"I mad a conscious effort to be aggressive," Bryant said. "We
didn't close the third quarter out very well," Bryant said. "It
was important to start the fourth quarter and establish
Garnett had his sixth straight double-double with 18 points and
12 rebounds, but Minnesota dropped to 0-7 all-time in postseason
series. The Timberwolves are 7-22 in postseason games,
including 3-13 on the road.
O'Neal's strong passing game helped Los Angeles to a 34-19
advantage in assists. Bryant contributed eight and Robert Horry
"Probably the most amazing stat I have ever seen when you look
at the stat sheet is they scored 101 points and their two main
players had something to do with 89 of their 101 points when you
look at the number of points they scored and the 17 assists,"
Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "That is a great statistic."
scored 16 points, George netted 12 and Horry added
11 and 10 rebounds. The Lakers held a commanding 51-41 edge on
the glass, with an 18-11 advantage on the offensive end.
scored 14 of his 18 points in the first quarter as
Minnesota built a 30-25 advantage. But the Timberwolves had just
five baskets and 13 points in the second period and baskets by
O'Neal and Fisher provided Los Angeles with a 47-43 lead at
"I just think we lost concentration at times," Hudson said.
"When you play a team like the Los Angeles lakers, the world
champs, you cannot afford to do that."
The Lakers opened the second half with a 10-2 spurt that Bryant
and Fisher capped with 3-pointers. Fisher's jumper with 2:40
remaining in the quarter gave Los Angeles a 69-54 advantage
before Minnesota closed the quarter strong.
The Timberwolves did not have a basket in the fourth quarter
until Garnett nailed a jumper with 6:29 left to cut the deficit
The Lakers tried to get O'Neal his 10th assist in the final
minutes and he almost got it when he fed Horry for an apparent
layup with just over three minutes to go. But Horry was fouled
by Rasho Nesterovic
, resulting in a chorus of boos from the
Staples Center crowd.