Final / OT

Los Angeles wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

Los Angeles wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, April 20th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st

Lakers 110

(50-32, 31-10 home)

    Coverage: FSW

    8:00 PM ET, April 24, 2003

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    MIN 29 23 28 21 13114
    LAL 24 22 25 30 9110

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 33 Pts, 14 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 Blk

    Los Angeles: S. O'Neal 28 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Ast, 5 Blk

    Wolves make free throws down stretch in win

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves got the biggest win in franchise history with their best player watching from the bench.

    Kevin Garnett

    And it was driving Kevin Garnett crazy.

    With Garnett on the sideline after fouling out early in overtime on a questionable call, the Timberwolves made seven free throws in the final 24.3 seconds to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 114-110 Thursday night and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

    "It was miserable, knowing I couldn't come out there and help my team,'' Garnett said. "I thought of other ways to help out, motivate, help the guys get over the edge.

    "I was going to be a T-Wolves cheerleader without the skirt and pom-poms.''

    Garnett had 33 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots before fouling out in the first 12 seconds of overtime. He had a hand on Robert Horry's back while defending an inbounds play, and Horry appeared to flop to the floor.

    "I didn't even touch him. I know how to foul,'' Garnett said.

    Garnett walked to the bench incredulously, but the Timberwolves found a way to win anyway.

    Minnesota has never won a playoff series, being eliminated in the first round in each of the last six years.

    Game 4 is Sunday at Staples Center, where the Lakers won their final 15 home games in the regular season.

    This, however, is the playoffs. And that streak means nothing now.

    I was going to be a T-Wolves cheerleader without the skirt and pom-poms.
    Kevin Garnett

    "I think we relaxed a little bit when Garnett went out of the ballgame,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They got some rebounds and some things that were really fortunate for them down the stretch.''

    Gary Trent's two free throws -- his only points of the game -- gave the Timberwolves a 109-108 lead with 24.3 seconds left.

    After Kobe Bryant missed a driving bank shot, Marc Jackson made two foul shots with 11.6 seconds left. Shaquille O'Neal's made one of two before Jackson added another free throw with 7.7 seconds to go.

    Bryant missed a 3-pointer with about three seconds to play that could have tied the score, and Troy Hudson made two free throws to complete the scoring.

    Hudson added 27 points, Wally Szczerbiak scored 13 and Jackson had 12.

    "When you have a superstar go out of the game, it usually takes the breath out of a team,'' Hudson said. "Our guys just stepped up.

    "He just told us, 'Those five guys who are out there, you have to believe in yourselves.' "

    Clearly, the Timberwolves did.

    Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points. O'Neal had 28 points and 17 rebounds and Derek Fisher scored 23, but none after the third quarter.

    "We have been in similar situations,'' Bryant said. "We know how to deal with this.''

    The Timberwolves appeared to have the game wrapped up after Hudson made two free throws with 22.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, giving them a 101-96 lead.

    But Bryant made a 3-pointer five seconds later, was fouled by Szczerbiak on another questionable call and completed the four-point play to cut Minnesota's lead to one.

    The Timberwolves committed a turnover trying to inbound the ball, and Bryant was fouled by Rasho Nesterovic -- who was standing still with his hands straight up -- on a drive to the basket with 12.1 seconds to play. It was Nesterovic's sixth foul.

    Bryant missed the first foul shot but made the second, tying the game at 101. Hudson's long jumper as time expired didn't come close, sending the game to overtime.

    Jannero Pargo made two free throws after another suspect foul call, putting the Lakers ahead 108-107 with 47.7 seconds left in overtime. Trent was then fouled by Bryant on a jumper and put the Wolves ahead for good.

    "We're still going against the world champions, they're not going to fold,'' Minnesota's Anthony Peeler said.

    After being held scoreless for nearly 15½ minutes, Garnett scored eight points in the final 3:47 to help the Timberwolves get their five-point lead.

    The Timberwolves had led by as many as 13 points before the Lakers outscored them 18-7 to start the fourth quarter to go ahead 89-87.

    Garnett's three-point play with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter gave him 11 points in the period, and Hudson's jumper nearly a minute later extended Minnesota's lead to 69-56 -- the largest of the game for either team.

    Game notes

    Horry started instead of Mark Madsen, getting the unenviable assignment of guarding Garnett. Jackson said the move was made to get his best players on the floor to begin the game. ... Horry was fined $10,000 for shoving a cameraman at halftime of Game 2 in Minnesota on Tuesday night. Horry refused comment except to say he would appeal "unless they're giving it to charity, doing something good with it.'' ... When asked if the fine was fair, Jackson replied: "Of course not. Are fines ever fair? What is this, the fining league?'' ... The Timberwolves entered with a 3-24 record against the Lakers in Los Angeles, including a 110-107 victory Dec. 1 that snapped a 16-game losing streak. "I think it helps that we won here earlier this year,'' Saunders said before the game. ... Jackson said he didn't mind the late start -- the game began at 8:15 p.m. PDT. But he quickly added: "Obviously they don't want any of the East Coast audience watching our game.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 114 110
    FGM-FGA 43-91 (.473) 39-98 (.398)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 10-26 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 24-26 (.923) 22-36 (.611)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-47 15-50
    Assists 23 24
    Turnovers 20 18
    Steals 12 9
    Blocks 7 7
    Fast Break Points 5 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 35 (1/0) 27 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 33
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 4
    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 28
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 5