MINNEAPOLIS, May 8 (Ticker) -- Just when the Minnesota Timberwolves appeared on the verge of a catastrophic collapse, the Sacramento Kings provided one of their own.

The Kings missed their last eight shots as they blew a 10-point lead in the final four minutes, wasting a terrific comeback in a 94-89 loss to the Timberwolves, who saved their season.

On the verge of digging itself a hole perhaps too deep to climb out of, top-seeded Minnesota rode clutch shooting from Sam Cassell, salvaged Game 2 and evened the Western Conference Semifinal.

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Kevin Garnett and the Wolves stuffed the Kings down the stretch.
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"This was just about sheer will and character," Timberwolves superstar Kevin Garnett said. "We knuckled down."

"You gotta keep playing," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We played a great game for 44 minutes. Unfortunately, the game is 48 minutes. We got what we deserved. You have to play 48."

Cassell scored eight of his 19 points in the last three minutes, fueling a 16-1 run that closed the game and had the Target Center in a panic. Just minutes earlier, the sellout crowd had grown deathly quiet as Sacramento opened an 88-78 lead.

"It was looking like we were going down 2-0, but we knew what we had to do," Cassell said. "Down 10 with four (minutes) to go, no need to point fingers, no need crying over spilt milk."

After a drive by Latrell Sprewell and two free throws by Garnett, Cassell had one of his patented plays. He drove and dished to Garnett, recovered the deflected pass, dribbled to the corner and drilled a 3-pointer to make it 88-85 with 2:36 left.

"Sam is that way," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "He is either going to win it or lose it for us. He's gonna take the shots. With Sam it, isn't how many he scores; it's when he scores them."

Cassell, who scored 40 points in Game 1, added a pull-up jumper and two more free throws by Garnett gave Minnesota the lead for good at the 1:45 mark.

After Sacramento's Doug Christie missed a pair of foul shots, Cassell spun away from a defender for a baseline jumper and a 91-88 lead with 24 seconds to play.

Christie missed a potential tying 3-pointer. Two free throws by Fred Hoiberg finally sealed it.

"That was probably the biggest win I have ever had at the Target Center," Garnett said.

Garnett had 28 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. But the NBA MVP was invisible as the Timberwolves missed 12 of their first 13 shots of the fourth quarter.

"I felt like I was out of rhythm," Garnett said. "I didn't have the kind of game I wanted, but we knuckled down on defense, we shut down the paint. I was trying to simplify things and make something happen."

Peja Stojakovic scored 26 points and Chris Webber added 21 for the Kings, who host Game 3 on Monday. Minnesota won twice at Sacramento this season.

"This is a game we definitely should have had," Kings guard Mike Bibby said. "We gave it away. We shot poorly. You always hate to lose, but this is a game we should have won."

Hoiberg scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half as Minnesota opened a 49-39 lead. Sacramento closed to 73-70 after three quarters and opened the final period with eight straight points.

Cassell made a jumper, but the Kings kept charging. Christie made a 3-pointer and a layup for a 10-point lead with 4:11 to play, prompting a timeout by the Wolves.

Sprewell bounced back nicely, scoring 15 points and slowing down Bibby. After scoring 33 points in Game 1 - primarily on Cassell - Bibby had 10 on 4-of-17 shooting.

"We kept bigger players on Bibby," Saunders said. "Mike has been playing phenomenal. I think he really torched us in Game 1. Spree had great energy tonight and did a great job on him all night."