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Spurs 86, Timberwolves 69
SAN ANTONIO, April 23 (AP) -- Game 2 was a laugher for the Spurs, who were all smiles from the third quarter on.

In a lopsided game in which the entire fourth quarter was garbage time, San Antonio dominated the Minnesota Timberwolves 86-69 Monday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan fights off Kevin Garnett for one of his 11 rebounds.
AP Photos TV highlights: 28.8+ | ISDN+
Tim Duncan had 18 points and 11 rebounds and held Kevin Garnett to 5-of-13 shooting. The Timberwolves' shooting percentage, 33.8, was one-tenth of a percent off their all-time low during the playoffs, and they committed 20 turnovers.

"They made all of the plays," Garnett said. "We approached the game trying to be aggressive, but their defense is tough with three guys on the perimeter who chase everything and two in the middle packing it in."

The best-of-five series now shifts to Minneapolis. Game 3 won't be played until Saturday.

"They played like a championship team," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "This is the best defense we've played all year."

Garnett finished with a team-high 18 points for Minnesota, which fell behind by 28 points in the third quarter and never threatened thereafter.

"We're thrilled that we got a big win, but you never go into a game like this thinking you're going to win by a wide margin," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Reserve LaPhonso Ellis, who had 15, was Garnett's only teammate to score in double figures. Terrell Brandon, who sprained his ankle in Game 1 on Saturday, ditched the electric blue shoes he wore in that game but still shot just 2-of-9 from the field.

"I told Flip that as much as he needs me tonight, I'm ready to play," Brandon said. "I gave the best I could. I can't use my ankle as an excuse."

Jamal Mashburn
Avery Johnson weaves his way through traffic for the score:
961k avi | QuickTime
The Spurs built a 16-point first-half lead with five three-pointers and sloppy shooting by Minnesota. San Antonio finished with seven three-pointers.

After the Wolves opened the third quarter with Brandon's three-pointer, the Spurs rattled off 12 straight points to go up 62-39. Danny Ferry contributed a three-pointer and Duncan finished off the surge by rebounding two of his own misses and then throwing down an enthusiastic dunk.

Minnesota only managed to score one point (on Chauncey Billups' free throw) before LaPhonso Ellis' flagrant foul sent Terry Porter to the free throw line. He made both shots, and Derek Anderson followed up with two jumpers to give the Spurs a 68-40 lead.

The Wolves never cut the lead below 15 after that.

"They changed their defense more, they came with double-teams a lot quicker," Duncan said. "When we started moving the ball, it hurt their defense a lot."

The changes worked at first, and Duncan was held to three points in the first quarter, after a 16-point first quarter in Game 1.

"I didn't adjust well early," he said. "A little coaching, a little cursing, and I figured it out."

David Robinson added 16 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, Terry Porter shot 3-for-3 from three-point range and added 13 points and Anderson had 12.

The Spurs scored 17 fast-break points to none for Minnesota.

Garnett had 12 rebounds for the Wolves. No other Minnesota starter had more than seven points (Brandon).

The Timberwolves have made five postseason appearances, beginning in 1997. They have never made it past the first round. They were knocked out last year by Portland.

Notes: Minnesota relied on Garnett's perfect free-throw shooting for eight of their 36 first-half points. ... Minnesota had its all-time low shooting percentage in a playoff game against Seattle on April 24, 1998. ... In the first round of the 1999 playoffs, the eighth-seeded Timberwolves beat the top-seeded Spurs, 80-71, in San Antonio. The Spurs went on to win the series 3-1 on their way to the NBA title.

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