SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 10 (Ticker) --
In an improbable finish to
an unbelievable game, Trenton Hassell
became an unlikely hero
for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Hassell partially blocked Peja Stojakovic's
from the top of the arc just before the overtime buzzer as the
Timberwolves escaped with a 114-113 triumph over the Sacramento
Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
In Game 2 on Saturday, Sacramento squandered a 10-point in the
final four minutes as Minnesota tied the series.
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KG's Timberwolves rose up in overtime in Game 3 Monday.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images/NBAE
In this one, the Timberwolves had a 15-point lead with 6 1/2
minutes left and a 100-87 cushion before Stojakovic nailed a
17-foot jumper with two minutes to play.
Without point guard Sam Cassell
-- who committed four fouls in a
1:50 stretch earlier in the period and fouled out with 1:26 left -- Minnesota watched Sacramento storm back and tie it, 104-104,
on a 3-pointer by Stojakovic with 10.7 seconds left.
"I thought it was déjà vu all over again," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders
said. "It felt like we were back in the Target Center
toward the end there."
Following a timeout, the Timberwolves worked the ball to
, who was guarded by Brad Miller
at the top of the arc.
Garnett spun right, but Stojakovic knocked the ball loose and
the MVP could not get off a shot before the buzzer.
In overtime, Minnesota took a 112-111 lead on a jumper by
with 59 seconds left and, after a miss by
Stojakovic, Garnett made a difficult spinning jumper with the
shot clock about to expire and 10.8 seconds remaining.
After two free throws by Stojakovic made it 114-113 with 6.1
seconds left, Minnesota called timeout and inbounded the ball to
Garnett, who slipped and was called for traveling.
Following another timeout, Sacramento got the ball to
Stojakovic, who scored 22 of his 29 points after the third
quarter and all nine in overtime. But Hassell got a piece of
the shot and Sprewell grabbed the rebound as time expired.
"You had to know that they were going to go to him," Hassell
said. "He had the hot hand and (Mike) Bibby was out of the
game, so you know it was going to go to him. I just had to stay
in front of him and make him take a tough shot."
"We just switched everything," Saunders said. "Maybe they get
it to Chris (Webber) if they needed to. They got it to their
guy, Trenton made a huge play."
The Kings felt that Stojakovic was fouled. Replays seemed to
indicate some slight contact with Hassell as the All-Star
forward raised for his shot.
"I can talk all night about that last play, whether that's a
foul or not," Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "I thought it was,
obviously, the referee didn't. I feel bad for Peja because he
deserves more respect than that."
"I did try to avoid the foul but yet stay close to him, where he
couldn't have room to shoot it," Hassell said. "When he took
off running, I just backed up and he jumped into me."
Garnett collected 30 points and 15 rebounds and Sprewell added
25, nine and six assists for Minnesota, which improved to 3-0 at
Arco Arena this season.
Game 4 is Wednesday at Sacramento.
"I have to take it to the guys to understand that they can't put
it into just one game," said Adelman, who used a seven-man
rotation. "It's 2-1. We have to make it 2-2 and go back to
Minnesota. We know we can win there, we just have to take it
over the hump and remember what got us here."
Minnesota closed the third quarter on a 20-7 run, scoring all
but two points without Garnett, who went to the bench after
picking up his fourth foul with 3:47 left. The Timberwolves
twice led by 15 points in the fourth quarter before the Kings'
Sacramento's Doug Christie
had a playoff career-high 24 points
and 12 rebounds and Bibby chipped in 19 and a playoff
career-best 10 assists before fouling out with 2:34 left in
"We're definitely going to bounce back, I'm not worried about
that," Bibby said. "We kept fighting, we didn't give up. A lot
of people in the stands were leaving, but we didn't give up.
The last two games both hurt. I don't know which is worse, they