Final

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

Los Angeles wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, April 20th
Lakers117Final
Timberwolves98
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Lakers91Final
Timberwolves119
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Timberwolves114Final
OT
Lakers110
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Timberwolves97Final
Lakers102
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Lakers120Final
Timberwolves90
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st
Timberwolves85Final
Lakers101

Lakers 91

(50-32, 19-22 away)

8:30 PM ET, April 22, 2003

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 23 20 24 2491
MIN 28 29 31 31119

Top Performers

Los Angeles: S. O'Neal 27 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast

Minnesota: K. Garnett 35 Pts, 20 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

KG takes over in fourth quarter to keep L.A. at bay

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Garnett was criticized in the playoffs last year for not being selfish enough down the stretch. On Tuesday night, he showed he can indeed take over a game in the fourth quarter.

Kevin Garnett
Garnett

Garnett had 35 points and 20 rebounds, and he made four of his five field-goal attempts in the final period as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 119-91 to even their first-round series at one game each.

"He just stepped up and played big,'' teammate Wally Szczerbiak said. "He's been doing that all year for us, and that's why I think he should be the MVP of the league.''

Troy Hudson added 37 points for Minnesota, which was eliminated in the first round the past six seasons.

Game 3 is Thursday night in Los Angeles, where the Wolves are 3-24 all-time against the Lakers.

"I don't think they can play any better than that,'' Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "They played a desperate game.''

A somber Shaquille O'Neal, who spent a day and a half in South Carolina for his grandfather's funeral, showed up about 90 minutes before tipoff and wasn't much of a factor, despite 27 points and 14 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant, the other half of the Lakers' dominant duo, had 27 points on 9-of-28 shooting -- far below his sensational 39-point performance in Sunday's opener. The Lakers won that game 117-98 to swipe home-court advantage from the Timberwolves.

O'Neal wasn't around in the locker room afterward to comment, but Bryant spoke for him and said the big man wasn't distracted.

"It didn't seem like his trip had any effect,'' Bryant said.

Hudson's 37 points set a franchise record for a playoff game. He averaged only 14.2 points during the regular season, and his best effort was 31.

"I was just staying aggressive, like the coaches told me to,'' Hudson said.

The Lakers had their most lopsided postseason loss since 2000, when the Indiana Pacers beat them 120-87 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Minnesota, which had never won a postseason game by more than nine points, led by as many as 24 in the third quarter but let the Lakers creep back into it in the fourth. Los Angeles got to 96-83 on a free throw by O'Neal, but Garnett made two jumpers, sandwiched around two free throws by Hudson to push the lead back to 19.

Garnett's last basket -- a jumper from 12 feet -- elicited a thunderous chant of "MVP'' from the crowd.

His teammates were only 4-for-16 from the field in the final period, and all the baskets came in garbage time.

Szczerbiak had 21 points, and Marc Jackson had 12 off the bench for the Timberwolves, who shot 55.6 percent from the field. Minnesota shot 50 percent in Game 1 and still lost by 19, which made Tuesday night's result all the more surprising.

"It was nice to see your shots falling and see you're in the lead,'' Szczerbiak said.

Defense was the reason for that. The Wolves played much tougher on-the-ball defense, denied the passing lanes and held the Lakers to 36.3 shooting.

"Just got after it, man,'' Garnett said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves on both ends. We just pressured up.''

Bryant was fouled hard on his right shoulder by Garnett on his first shot of the second half, and he grimaced as he made his way to the foul line.

He wore a pained look on his face for most of the game, in fact, but mostly out of frustration. Anthony Peeler played tight defense and helped limit him to 1-for-8 shooting in the third quarter as Minnesota put the game away.

"We came out ready to play,'' Bryant said. "They just played better than we did.''

After trailing for all of Game 1, the Timberwolves emerged with an abundance of energy and quickly scored the first eight points to get the fans on their feet.

Coach Flip Saunders started Peeler in place of Joe Smith, who didn't even play. Peeler and Hudson effectively pushed the ball up the floor and ran a solid transition game.

With Smith starting in Game 1, Szczerbiak played shooting guard and was too busy trying to chase Bryant on the defensive end to find a rhythm on offense. But the small lineup worked well.

The Wolves matched the Lakers' seven 3-pointers after being outscored 30-3 from beyond the arc Sunday.

They took a 57-43 halftime lead when Hudson hit a 3-pointer at the horn as he was falling backward toward the sideline. Hudson sprang to his feet and gave Garnett and Szczerbiak a hard slap of the hand as they jogged off the court.

Minnesota broke it open in the third period with an 11-0 run, on 3-pointers by Garnett, Peeler and Hudson, to go ahead 70-47.

"They played with desire to stay in the series,'' said Lakers forward Rick Fox, later repeating the words of his coach. "They played with desperation.''

Game notes


Paid attendance was 17,132, up 35 from Sunday but still nearly 2,000 less than capacity. ... The Timberwolves used their small lineup 28 times during the regular season and went 18-10. ... The Lakers lost for only the second time in 30 Game 2s after winning a Game 1.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
LAL
MIN
Points 91 119
FGM-FGA 33-91 (.363) 40-72 (.556)
3PM-3PA 7-25 (.280) 7-14 (.500)
FTM-FTA 18-22 (.818) 32-37 (.865)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-35 9-52
Assists 23 26
Turnovers 12 14
Steals 7 8
Blocks 4 4
Fast Break Points 3 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 31 (0/0) 25 (1/0)

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Minnesota
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 27
Reb: 14
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 35
Reb: 20
Ast: 7
Stl: 2
Blk: 1