Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 2/1

Game 1: Tuesday, February 1st
Game 2: Friday, March 4th

Timberwolves 86

(24-21, 11-12 away)

Bucks 91

(16-27, 11-10 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 1, 2005

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 29 27 11 1986
    MIL 21 26 23 2191

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 15 Pts, 13 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mil: J. Smith 17 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Bucks end 10-game losing streak vs. Minnesota

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Toni Kukoc played one of his best games in a long time, and so did the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Michael Redd scored 19 points and Joe Smith added 17 points and 12 rebounds to help Milwaukee hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves 91-86 on Tuesday night.

    Kukoc started for Desmond Mason, who was out with the flu, and turned in season highs in points (nine), rebounds (six), assists (five) and minutes (33). He pushed his 36-year-old body up and down the floor just as he did as a rookie 11 seasons ago with the Chicago Bulls.

    "Unsung heroes were definitely Toni and Joe Smith tonight," Redd said.

    It was Kukoc's first start in almost three seasons for the Bucks, who had lost 10 straight to the Timberwolves since winning in Minnesota on March 28, 1999.

    Latrell Sprewell scored 24 points, including 19 in the first quarter, and Wally Szczerbiak added 19 for the Timberwolves, who had won five consecutive games before losing to Sacramento at home on Sunday.

    The Timberwolves had more energy and intensity in the first half and led 56-47, but came out flat in the third quarter before turning it up late in the fourth.

    They might have been counting on the Bucks to fold down the stretch.

    Milwaukee had been outscored 70-30 in the last quarter of their past two losses, but the Bucks held on this time thanks to Kukoc, Smith, Redd and Erick Strickland.

    "The stars were in line for us tonight," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said after the win snapped a three-game losing streak that dropped the team 12 games below .500 for the first time this season.

    Milwaukee clamped down on the Timberwolves in the second half, holding them to a season-low 30 points, including a season-low 11 in the third quarter.

    "They took away the momentum, they got the crowd back in the game," Szczerbiak said. "We just came out with no energy in the third quarter. I don't know what our problem was."

    Kukoc, who missed 23 games with a right hip strain earlier this season, credited Smith's defense on Kevin Garnett as a key to the game.

    "I think he's the best defender on Kevin that I know in the league," Kukoc said after Garnett was held to 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting and 13 rebounds.

    Smith was Garnett's teammate in Minnesota for two seasons.

    "If he doesn't know how to play him, nobody does," Kukoc added.

    Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders agreed.

    "Joe was unbelievable, unbelievable offensively, unbelievable defensively," he said.

    Sprewell had just eight points in each of the Timberwolves' last two games, but he shot 7-of-11 in the first quarter, including four 3-pointers. He played a minute of the second before heading to the bench.

    Redd finally figured out how to stop Sprewell, holding him scoreless in the third while scoring nine points, including the final six to help the Bucks take a 70-67 lead into the final quarter.

    Sparked by Redd's effort, the rest of the team stepped up, too, and Milwaukee erased Minnesota's nine-point halftime lead.

    Keith Van Horn's 3-pointer gave the Bucks a 79-69 lead with 7:06 to play and capped a 16-2 run that bridged the end of the third and the fourth.

    But the Timberwolves answered with a 10-2 run that pulled them to 84-82 on two free throws by Sam Cassell with 1:23 left.

    Kukoc connected over Cassell on the baseline on the Bucks' next possession to push the lead to 86-82.

    The Timberwolves got within two twice in the final 50 seconds, but two free throws each by Smith and Strickland and one by Kukoc sealed the victory.

    The Bucks improved to 16-27. After 43 games last season, they were 24-19.

    Game notes

    Van Horn, who sat out Sunday's loss at Cleveland with right ankle tendinitis, played 15 minutes. He's missed 19 games due to that injury. ... Minnesota slipped to 7-12 against the Eastern Conference, including 1-9 on the road. ... Kukoc's last start was with Atlanta on Feb. 27, 2002, against Seattle. ... Sprewell's five 3-pointers tied his season high, accomplished five times.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 91
    FGM-FGA 35-85 (.412) 34-88 (.386)
    3PM-3PA 6-21 (.286) 1-10 (.100)
    FTM-FTA 10-11 (.909) 22-24 (.917)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-40 19-50
    Assists 25 19
    Turnovers 11 9
    Steals 3 5
    Blocks 5 5
    Fast Break Points 8 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 18 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 10 10

    Top Performers

    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 15
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Joe Smith Smith
    Points: 17
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0