Los Angeles wins series 4-2 (Game 6 of 6)

Los Angeles wins series 4-2

Game 1: Friday, May 21st
Game 2: Sunday, May 23rd
Game 3: Tuesday, May 25th
Game 4: Thursday, May 27th
Game 5: Saturday, May 29th
Game 6: Monday, May 31st

Lakers 96

(56-26, 34-7 home)

6:00 PM ET, May 31, 2004

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 17 29 22 2290
LAL 28 20 19 2996

Top Performers

Minnesota: K. Garnett 22 Pts, 17 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Los Angeles: K. Rush 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Minnesota at LA Lakers 9:00 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angels Lakers can move into the NBA Finals for the fourth time in five seasons on Monday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Six of the Western Conference finals.

Los Angeles had its 12-game winning streak snapped when trying to close a series with Friday's 98-96 loss in Game Five. Shaquille O'Neal collected 17 points and 13 rebounds, but took only 11 shots and was not happy with his teammates afterward.

Minnesota improved to 2-0 in elimination games this postseason despite playing without All-Star point guard Sam Cassell. Cassell also will miss Game Six due to the back spasms that have plagued him throughout the series.

The Timberwolves likely will use the same lineup they employed in Game Five with Darrick Martin replacing Cassell. Martin managed only two points on 1-of-6 shooting in Game Five.


F Kevin Garnett vs F Karl Malone. Garnett turned in a huge effort with 30 points and 19 rebounds in Game Five and has played his best basketball with Minnesota's season on the line. He had 11 free-throw attempts on Friday after managing a total of eight in the two games in Los Angeles. Malone scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the loss and a similar effort could be too much for the Timberwolves to overcome.


Timberwolves: F Latrell Sprewell helped Minnesota somewhat compensate for Cassell's absence by scoring 28 points in Game Five. Sprewell is averaging 19.6 points in the series. Now he must prove he can do it on the road, where he has made just 11-of-35 shots in losses in Games Three and Four.

Lakers: G Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.2 points and 5.8 assists in the series, carrying Los Angeles for long stretches. He is returning home, where he shot 21 foul shots in Games Three and Four. Bryant turned in a pair of 22-point second halves in the Lakers' home games in this series.


Timberwolves: C Michael Olowokandi got the start in Game Five over Ervin Johnson. But Olowokandi picked up five fouls in just 19 minutes one game after picking up five in nine minutes. Olowokandi needs to stay on the court longer.

Lakers: F Devean George has not contributed much against his home state team. The Minnesota native has managed four points in each of the last two games and is just 3-of-14 from the 3-point arc in the series.

STREAKS: Los Angeles has won 10 straight home games, including all eight in the postseason.

SEASON SERIES & HISTORY: Minnesota won three of four regular-season meetings with Los Angeles, splitting two games at Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves in six games in the first round last season in the only previous postseason matchup between the clubs.


Timberwolves: Cassell (back) is out.

Lakers: None.