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Spurs 97, Timberwolves 84
MINNEAPOLIS, April 30 (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs needed more than their Twin Towers to eliminate the Minnesota Timberwolves from their first-round series Monday night.

Tim Duncan scored 24 and David Robinson added 21 in the 97-84 victory, but timely 3-pointers by Danny Ferry and Antonio Daniels put the Spurs over the top.

Duncan was just 8-of-23 from the field, and Robinson went to the bench with his fourth foul in the third period. Ferry and Daniels hit four 3-pointers apiece to prove that these Spurs are more than a two-man show.

David Robinson
David Robinson drops the hook over Radoslav Nesterovic.
AP Photos TV highlights: 28.8+ | ISDN+
"We've ridden on Timmy's back all season," Ferry said. "When teams double-team him, we have other guys who can shoot the ball."

The Spurs, 3-1 winners of the series, also knocked the Wolves out of the first round in 1999, before going on to win the NBA title. They will play the winner of the Dallas-Utah series.

"It doesn't matter who we play," said Duncan, who also had 16 rebounds. "You can say that, and sometimes it does matter. This time, it really doesn't. If Dallas comes back, that could take a lot of them. Utah would be fine, too."

The Wolves lost in the first round for the fifth time in as many seasons. Their 0-5 series record in the playoffs is the worst among all NBA franchises.

"It's getting pretty old," Timberwolves guard Terrell Brandon said. "The fans want something else to happen, and they deserve it."

Robinson came up with a pair of big baskets after Minnesota's Brandon and Anthony Peeler, both scoreless in the first half, hit back-to-back 3-pointers with less than six minutes left to make it 75-73.

"There was a tough stretch where we got into a slump there," said Robinson, who had 14 rebounds. "Coming back down the floor, I felt pretty good so I put them up there. Finishing out this game means so much to me."

Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan beats the first-half buzzer:
824k avi | QuickTime
The Spurs outscored the Wolves 22-11 the rest of the way.

"That's vintage NBA playoff basketball right there," the Wolves' LaPhonso Ellis said.

The Wolves' Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points, giving him 38 over the last two games. He was held to 18 points in the first two games of the series.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Brandon finished with 17.

Robinson played the fourth period with four fouls. He picked up his fourth with 4:26 remaining in the third period, and the Spurs leading 63-57.

They took a 71-63 lead into the fourth quarter, with the help of the 3-pointers by Ferry and Daniels.

"It's pretty much pick your poison," the Wolves' Chauncey Billups said. "They're great shooters over there."

Ferry finished with 18 points and Daniels had 16 to make up for a poor shooting night by Duncan, who was 8 for 23.

"It was either a swish or an airball, it seems," Ferry said.

Minnesota's guards missed their first 10 shots. Brandon and Peeler were a combined 0-for-6 in the first half, which ended with the Spurs leading 44-43.

Reserves scored 17 of 19 points for the Spurs during a stretch between the first and second periods, boosting their lead to 31-26.

Malik Rose scored the Spurs' final seven points of the first period, which ended at 19-19. Reserves Daniels, Rose and Samaki Walker combined to score 21 of the Spurs' 44 points in the first half.

Notes: Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders became the first coach in NBA history to lose in the first round five seasons in a row. ... The Wolves lost Game 4 for the fourth season in a row. ... The Spurs have never been forced to Game 5 of a five-game series after winning the first two games. ... Peeler was 9-for-41 in the Wolves' three losses. ... The contest drew 16,336 fans, the second-smallest crowd in team playoff history and about 3,000 short of a sellout. The crowd included Baseball Hall of Fame-elect Kirby Puckett and Minnesota Vikings players Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper and Korey Stringer.

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