Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/28

Game 1: Sunday, November 28th
Game 2: Friday, December 10th
Game 3: Sunday, January 30th
Game 4: Sunday, April 3rd

Timberwolves 112

(39-35, 18-20 away)

Kings 100

(45-30, 27-11 home)

12:30 PM ET, April 3, 2005

Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 20 27 38 27112
SAC 25 21 24 30100

Top Performers

Minnesota: K. Garnett 30 Pts, 13 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

Sacramento: P. Stojakovic 25 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

Garnett puts up 30 while Sprewell adds 23

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- While the Timberwolves headed for the team bus after an impressive win over the Kings, Wally Szczerbiak recited most of the Memphis Grizzlies' remaining schedule by heart as he chatted with Ervin Johnson about Minnesota's playoff chances.

"We need Denver to beat Memphis," Szczerbiak said. "We can't relax."

The Timberwolves will need some help to earn their ninth straight playoff appearance. They also need every win they can get -- and they certainly had more passion and accuracy than their opponents in Sacramento.

Kevin Garnett had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Latrell Sprewell added 23 points in Minnesota's 112-100 victory Sunday.

Sam Cassell scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half for the Timberwolves, who have won four straight regular-season games in Sacramento. Minnesota made 53 percent of its shots and took a 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter before holding on to extend the longest current winning streak of any opponent at Arco Arena.

With their sixth victory in seven games, the ninth-place Timberwolves (39-35) stayed three games behind Denver and Memphis for the final two Western Conference playoff spots. The Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-82 on Sunday, while the Nuggets were idle.

But after a disappointing start that cost coach Flip Saunders his job, the Timberwolves began a playoff push two weeks ago with the first of five straight victories. That winning streak ended Friday night in Phoenix, but Minnesota faces just three teams with winning records in its final eight games.

"We don't have anyone to blame for the situation we're in but ourselves," Cassell said. "The only people that are going to get us out of this situation is ourselves. We've got to keep doing what we're doing."

Peja Stojakovic scored 25 points for the Kings, who grabbed a season-high 24 offensive rebounds -- 20 in the first half -- but couldn't do much else in a comfortable win for the Timberwolves. Sacramento remained in fifth place, a half-game in front of Houston, which lost to Phoenix 91-78.

"When you go on a road trip and beat Cleveland (on Friday night), you can't come back home and lose to Minnesota," Stojakovic said. "They're fighting for their playoff spot, and we have to have that same attitude. We should be fighting for our playoff spot."

Mike Bibby scored 19 points and Cuttino Mobley added 16 for the Kings, who must win five of their final seven games to reach 50 victories for the fifth straight season. Kenny Thomas had 11 points and a season-high 16 rebounds.

Minnesota made a 17-6 run in the final 4 minutes of the third quarter. Sacramento closed to 93-86 on Mobley's layup with 6:11 to play, but Sprewell scored eight points in the next 4½ minutes while also playing strong defense.

"Our offense is pretty good, and besides our rebounding, we did a nice job," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "(The Kings) have a little different look with Kenny Thomas, (Brian) Skinner and Corliss (Williamson). This team is not as finesse-y as it used to be. They come in and push you back."

These clubs had the makings of a rivalry following the Timberwolves' seven-game victory over the Kings in the second round of last season's playoffs, but Sacramento has a dramatically different look without Chris Webber, Brad Miller and Doug Christie.

"It's very weird, Webb not being here and not seeing him and Bibby, that one-two punch," Garnett said. "As a fan of the game, I'm upset that those two can't enlighten us on behind-the-backs and no-looks and the fun they bring here at Arco."

Sacramento dropped to 27-11 at home -- its worst record at Arco Arena in five years. After six straight seasons without a home loss by more than 15 points, the Kings have three such defeats already this season -- and they needed a late rally to avoid another one.

"We just didn't guard them well enough the whole game," coach Rick Adelman said. "In the second half, we got our heads down. They played like a team that really needed to win, and they shot it well and executed well. We didn't have any answer for them."

The Kings had a huge rebounding advantage for most of the game, but couldn't do much with it because they made just 38 percent of their shots.

"They're killing us on the boards! They're killing us!" Cassell screamed to his bench after Sacramento got six offensive rebounds on two possessions late in the first half.

Game notes

Mobley and Thomas got technical fouls in the fourth quarter for arguing. ... Jimmy Jam, the Minneapolis music producer who's a courtside regular at the Timberwolves' home games, watched this game from courtside seats.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 112 100
FGM-FGA 44-83 (.530) 38-99 (.384)
3PM-3PA 5-12 (.417) 6-18 (.333)
FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 18-24 (.750)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-41 27-55
Assists 22 17
Turnovers 9 9
Steals 3 5
Blocks 6 2
Fast Break Points 10 11
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 19 (2/0)
Largest Lead 16 5

Top Performers

Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 30
Reb: 13
Ast: 6
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Peja Stojakovic Stojakovic
Points: 25
Reb: 7
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 1