Los Angeles wins series 4-2 (Game 5 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 120

(50-32, 19-22 away)

    8:30 PM ET, April 29, 2003

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 28 30 36 26120
    MIN 25 23 25 1790

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 32 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Min: K. Garnett 25 Pts, 16 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Bryant scores 32 points in Lakers' rout of Wolves

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers snapped back to life, with everyone from Kobe Bryant to Derek Fisher to Robert Horry to Shaquille O'Neal exhibiting championship form.

    Derek Fisher

    Bryant had 16 of his 32 points in the third quarter, O'Neal added 27 points, Fisher had 24 and Horry 12 Tuesday night to put the Minnesota Timberwolves on the brink of elimination with a 120-90 victory.

    Los Angeles leads the series 3-2.

    "Sense of urgency, really,'' Bryant said, explaining the Lakers' breakout. "Crucial game.''

    Game 6 is Thursday in Los Angeles, with Game 7 back in Minneapolis on Saturday if necessary.

    If the Lakers play this way again, however, it won't be necessary.

    "It was Groundhog's Day, just like Game 1,'' Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said, comparing it to the Lakers' 19-point blowout victory in the series opener.

    Stretching a 10-point halftime lead to 21 by the end of the third quarter and to 30 late in the fourth, the three-time defending champions rediscovered their shooting touch and their offensive flow.

    "That's the team I recognize,'' coach Phil Jackson said. "Moving the ball and limiting turnovers. We wanted to be sure we struck first and were aggressive.''

    Fisher had five 3-pointers, and the Lakers -- 12-for-23 from beyond the arc -- shot 54 percent from the field. Horry, who missed his first 11 attempts from 3-point range in this series, finally made a pair to help the Lakers overcome the absence of starting forward Rick Fox.

    The blowout was a big disappointment for Kevin Garnett, the rest of the Timberwolves and their 20,098 fans.

    The Target Center, sold out for the first time this series, was roaring in the game's opening stages but nearly empty at the end.

    Garnett had 25 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are now one loss away from a seventh straight first-round exit.

    "I felt badly for Flip,'' Jackson said. "He had the team in position. I know what it's like to be in a situation like that where you just can't find anything to click out there.''

    The Lakers are tough to beat when they get more than just a token contribution from players other than O'Neal or Bryant. On this night, they got plenty from many.

    "In the playoffs, our opponent's game plan has been to take things away from Shaq and Kobe,'' Fisher said. "But when we execute, shots open up for all of us.''

    Fisher, who's had a streaky series, had all of his points in the first three quarters and finished 8-for-10 from the floor.

    "We told him to try to make Troy Hudson play defense against him,'' O'Neal said, "and he did that.''

    With the Lakers starting to suck the life out the crowd, Bryant took over.

    He drove baseline past Garnett midway through the third, soared above traffic, used the rim as a shield and threw down a marvelous one-handed reverse dunk that stunned everyone who saw it and put Los Angeles up 73-55.

    "Just taking my time,'' Bryant said. "There was no sense of urgency for me to really go into attack mode because my team was doing so well. In the third quarter, I saw an opportunity to really start being assertive.''

    Horry, who scored a total of just 18 points in the first four games, helped check a frustrated Garnett on defense.

    As the Timberwolves took a timeout late in the third, Garnett -- fearing a substitution -- turned and screamed at the bench, "Don't get me! Don't get me!''

    Rasho Nesterovic had 13 points and Kendall Gill 10 for the Timberwolves, who lost the defensive intensity they had in the previous three games and committed 17 turnovers that the Lakers turned into 29 points.

    With Fox's postseason over because of a torn tendon in his left foot suffered in Game 4, Minneapolis native Devean George had 12 points and eight rebounds starting at small forward.

    George picked up where Fox left off defensively on Wally Szczerbiak, who had twice as many turnovers (four) in the first half as attempted shots.

    Szczerbiak finished with a nine points on 3-for-7 shooting and heard a few boos when he came out near the end of the game.

    "They took it to us on both ends of the floor,'' Szczerbiak said.

    With Horry also in the starting five, the Lakers -- who shot below 40 percent in each of the past three games -- had more of an offensive-minded group.

    Brian Shaw picked on Szczerbiak some too, stealing the ball from him on a trap near midcourt and getting an easy layup on the other end that gave Los Angeles a 35-26 lead early in the second.

    Hudson, who scored 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting in the first half, was again silent late.

    He had back-to-back 3-pointers during a 14-4 Wolves run that gave them a brief lead, 40-39 in the second quarter, but he was scoreless in the second half after coming up empty in the fourth quarter of Game 4.

    Game notes

    This was Minnesota's first sellout in six playoff games. The last came in 2000 in a series against Portland. ... O'Neal was 7-for-10 from the foul line. In three road games this series, he is 24-for-32 (75 percent) on free throws. At home, he's 16-for-31.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 120 90
    FGM-FGA 45-83 (.542) 36-84 (.429)
    3PM-3PA 12-23 (.522) 5-12 (.417)
    FTM-FTA 18-26 (.692) 13-19 (.684)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-44 9-36
    Assists 25 26
    Turnovers 7 17
    Steals 13 3
    Blocks 7 4
    Fast Break Points 7 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (1/0) 15 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 32
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 25
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1