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Series-by-Series






Timberwolves 87, Spurs 82
Wolves Stave Off Extinction
MINNEAPOLIS, April 28 (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves learned it's not enough to use one or two players against Tim Duncan. So they ran four at him Saturday.

Duncan
Tim Duncan gets all ball against Kevin Garnett.
AP Photos
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Terrell Brandon had 21 points and nine assists, Kevin Garnett scored 22, and Minnesota got Duncan in foul trouble in its 93-84 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, extending the playoff series.

Reggie Slater, Rasho Nesterovic, LaPhonso Ellis and Dean Garrett combined for 14 fouls while limiting Duncan to 15 points and 10 rebounds. Most importantly, they kept the Spurs' star off the court for 19 of the game's 48 minutes because of his foul woes.

David Robinson led San Antonio with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

"There's no question our ability to go at Timmy and get him in foul trouble had a big part in the game," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. "It takes pressure off you defensively, because you don't have to expose yourself as quickly by trapping both Duncan and David.

"It helps when you only have to play one of the Twin Towers."

Game 4 is Monday night in Minneapolis. The Spurs hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five first-round series.

"We can't get frustrated," San Antonio's Derek Anderson said. "There's no point getting upset or frustrated. They didn't get frustrated when they were down 2-0."

Duncan had 15 points and 10 rebounds, but sat out a chunk of the fourth quarter with five fouls. He avoided fouling out for what would have been only the seventh time in his four-year, 317-game career, including the playoffs.

His fifth foul came while he was on offense and away from the ball, trying to separate himself from Slater.

"I have to be more cautious," Duncan said. "I have to stay in the game."

He left the court with 9:03 left and the Spurs trailing 73-68, but they were within 77-74 when he returned with 5:15 remaining.

Duncan promptly dunked at the end of a break, pulling the Spurs within a point.

Brandon, though, hit a pair of pullup jumpers and Anthony Peeler, who was 6-for-29 in the first two games of the series, hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Timberwolves pull away.

Peeler had five of the Timberwolves' 12 steals, which led to 26 points.

"I was just trying to be a little pest on David and Timmy," Peeler said.

Slater, who gave up about 5 inches against Duncan and Robinson, scored six points early in the fourth quarter to chants of "Reggie! Reggie!" He had a few slammed back in his face, too, but kept shooting.

"Sometimes you're the bug," said Slater, who played only 14 minutes in the first two games. "Sometimes you're the windshield."

The Wolves went on a 10-2 run to take a 64-54 lead in the third period, but the Spurs answered with a 12-4 run and pulled to 68-66 going into the fourth.

Duncan picked up his fourth foul on a drive by Wally Szczerbiak that resulted in a three-point play, giving the Wolves a 52-47 lead with 8:42 left in the period.

Brandon sprained his left ankle in Game 1, but still was able to split the Wolves' first 18 points with Garnett. Peeler was Minnesota's third player to score, about nine minutes into the game.

Garnett scored his ninth point on Duncan's second foul, which sent the Spurs' star to the bench with five minutes left in the first quarter. Duncan's foul on Garrett with four minutes left in the half sent him to the bench having scored seven points in 14 minutes.

Notes: The Timberwolves watched videotape of Denver's 1994 playoff victory over Seattle, one of only five times in NBA history a team has rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win a five-game series. Current Timberwolves LaPhonso Ellis and Tom Hammonds were on that Denver team, which like the Wolves was a No. 8 seed. ... In their five-year playoff history, the Wolves are 4-2 when they score 90 or more points and 1-12 when held to fewer than 90.
 
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