MINNEAPOLIS, April 30 (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett got the Minnesota Timberwolves out of trouble and out of the first round.

Garnett ended seven years of postseason frustration for himself and his team as he scored 28 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 102-91 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The top-seeded Timberwolves closed out the eighth-seeded Nuggets in five games and advanced to the Western Conference semfinals for the first time in franchise history. They had lost their first seven postseason series, winning just seven of 29 games.

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Kevin Garnett was three boards and two dimes shy of a triple-double in Game 5.
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As the best player in franchise history, Garnett took the blame. He was accused of being too unselfish, which tarnished his reputation as a superstar.

"I am not a quitter," Garnett said. "I won't quit on nothing, especially when it is something like not getting out of the first round. It is not in me to quit."

"He is a superstar that has a blue-collar attitude, and that is great," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said.

After winning Game Four to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Wolves raced to a 26-point first-half lead and relaxed. The Nuggets battled back and cut the deficit to 72-66 late in the third period.

That's when Garnett got selfish. He closed the quarter with two free throws, then scored eight points in the first four minutes of the final period, taking charge of the game. His tough fadeaway jumper made it 84-70.

"I have been in a lot of series and I have been in that position before and I knew we needed a lift," he said. "I called all the sets. I told the team that I am going to put it on my back. I have learned from experience."

Minnesota led by at least nine points thereafter, and in the final minute, a fan threw a symbolic stuffed monkey onto the Target Center floor.

"I am very excited. I am not going to downplay it," Garnett said. "I am eager to see what is on the other side."

Next up for Minnesota is fourth-seeded Sacramento. The Wolves hold home-court advantage and won twice at Arco Arena during the regular season.

Last summer, Timberwolves vice president Kevin McHale gave Garnett some help, acquiring veteran guards Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell in trades. Garnett referred to the trio as the "three-headed monster," and the three combined for 73 points in this one.

Cassell, who won a pair of championships with Houston in the mid-1990s, scored 26 points. Sprewell, who led New York to the 1999 NBA Finals, added 19.

"(Garnett) works so hard and has taken a lot of criticism," Sprewell said. "I am sure this is a relief for him."

Marcus Camby had 21 points and 15 rebounds and Andre Miller scored 21 points for the Nuggets, who were in the playoffs for the first time since 1995. Denver played without star rookie forward Carmelo Anthony, who suffered a left knee sprain in Game 4.

The Wolves jumped to a 28-19 lead after one quarter, then put together a 24-4 run in the second period to take a 54-28 lead. During the surge, Garnett scored eight points and the Nuggets made just 2-of-10 shots while committing four turnovers.

But Denver ended the half with a 17-3 spurt and kept coming in the third quarter, closing to 66-60 on Camby's three-point play.

"I broke a few things in the bathroom because I was mad at myself for trying to get some rest (for his players) in the last few minutes (of the first half)," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said.

A 3-pointer by Jon Barry made it 72-66 before Garnett took over.

"I just told everybody, 'Bump all this and play off me,'" Garnett said.

He opened the final period with a follow shot and two free throws, then answered Miller's jumper with a turnaround jumper. After his fadeaway, he added a free throw for an 87-72 bulge with 6:40 left, starting the celebration.