Minnesota wins series 4-3 (Game 4 of 7)

Minnesota wins series 4-3

Game 1: Tuesday, May 4th
Game 2: Saturday, May 8th
Game 3: Monday, May 10th
Game 4: Wednesday, May 12th
Game 5: Friday, May 14th
Game 6: Sunday, May 16th
Game 7: Wednesday, May 19th

Timberwolves 81

(58-24, 27-14 away)

Kings 87

(55-27, 34-7 home)

Coverage: KXTV

7:30 PM ET, May 12, 2004

Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 15 16 26 2481
SAC 21 21 17 2887

Top Performers

Min: K. Garnett 19 Pts, 21 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Sac: C. Webber 28 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Webber scores 28, Miller 20

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Every basket was a grind in the Sacramento Kings' series-tying victory. Perhaps that's why Chris Webber played so well. His last easy shot was some time last year.

Webber scored a playoff-high 28 points and Brad Miller added 20 to lead the Kings to an 87-81 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night in Game 4 of their second-round matchup.

For the first extended period since his return from serious knee surgery in February, Webber seemed downright comfortable. He made his first six shots, played strong defense on Kevin Garnett and added six points over the final 3:20, quashing the Timberwolves' hopes for a third straight last-minute victory.

Webber is somewhere near half-strength, playing extensive minutes on a painfully sore knee that could use much more recovery time than it gets in the playoffs. He was humorless and untalkative after the game -- but clearly satisfied by outplaying Garnett for the first time in the series.

"I made up my mind tonight I was going to play my game, do what they brought me here to do," Webber said. "At least I was going to try to do it."

Game 5 is Friday night in Minnesota, where the clubs split the first two games of the series. Game 6 is back in Sacramento on Sunday.

Mike Bibby had 15 points and a playoff-best 12 assists for the Kings, who increased their defensive intensity on cue. Webber again played a role, verbally exhorting his teammates in several timeout huddles.

Coach Rick Adelman altered his substitution pattern to give Webber more rest.

"He was getting open jumpers, and he was impressive," Adelman said.

The game was nearly the opposite of Minnesota's thrilling 114-113 overtime win two nights earlier. Both teams struggled to make easy shots and committed countless boneheaded turnovers, but Sacramento never trailed after the opening four minutes.

"Maybe they were a little relaxed," Miller said. "Maybe they were just happy about getting home court back. We just have to do what we have to do to finish."

Garnett had 19 points and 21 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who made 24 turnovers while losing in Sacramento for the first time in four games this season. Minnesota's Big Three -- Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell -- combined to shoot 17-for-48.

Chris Webber
The Timberwolves fled their locker room en masse before the media arrived.

"(The loss) had to do with us not taking care of the basketball," said Sprewell, the only Minnesota player in the interview room. "Webb came out really aggressive tonight. He did exactly what he had to do to help this team win tonight. We knew they were going to put up a serious fight. They didn't want to go back to Minnesota down 3-1."

Peja Stojakovic, the NBA's second-leading scorer in the regular season, had yet another terrible shooting game, missing eight of his first nine shots and rarely asserting himself in the Kings' offense. Stojakovic, Bibby and Doug Christie combined to shoot 7-for-31, getting just one basket in the fourth quarter.

But Webber carried the Kings. Though most of his points came from the outside to draw Garnett away from the paint, he played strong defense, grabbed eight rebounds and also got a dramatic dunk in the final minutes.

With the Kings' victory, all four of the second-round playoff series are tied at two games apiece -- but only this series featured any road wins.

Led by Webber's outside shooting and strong team defense, the Kings jumped to a 17-point lead in the first half. But nothing is easy in this series: Minnesota quickly made a 19-6 run that included 11 straight points, and the Wolves briefly tied it late in the third quarter.

Bibby made up for his 4-for-12 shooting with his best playmaking of the series despite Sprewell's defense. He also hit all six of his free throws, leading Sacramento's 22-of-25 performance from the line.

Cassell had 15 points and six assists for the Timberwolves, while Sprewell had 13 points. The rest of the roster managed just 34 points.

"We had a lot of unforced turnovers," coach Flip Saunders said. "We just made bad decisions. We were doing things I hadn't seen in a long time."

Game notes

The drawstring on Garnett's shorts came loose during a play midway through the first quarter. He held up his shorts with one hand and played defense with the other, but Webber hit a jumper over him. ... Stojakovic was fouled hard on a long jumper late in the second quarter -- but the shot banked in anyway. When Stojakovic returned to the bench with a smirk on his face, Vlade Divac said: "If it won't go the easy way, it's got to go the hard way." ... After the game, fans serenaded Bibby with an impromptu rendition of "Happy Birthday." Bibby turns 26 Thursday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 81 87
FGM-FGA 29-72 (.403) 32-76 (.421)
3PM-3PA 5-16 (.313) 1-9 (.111)
FTM-FTA 18-20 (.900) 22-25 (.880)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-46 7-33
Assists 18 19
Turnovers 24 13
Steals 6 8
Blocks 3 3
Fast Break Points 3 2
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 16 (1/0)

Top Performers

Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 19
Reb: 21
Ast: 6
Stl: 1
Blk: 2
Chris Webber Webber
Points: 28
Reb: 8
Ast: 1
Stl: 3
Blk: 1