Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 12/23

Game 1: Thursday, December 23rd
Game 2: Wednesday, March 16th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 20th

Spurs 73

(59-23, 21-20 away)

Timberwolves 95

(44-38, 24-17 home)

    Coverage: KENS

    7:00 PM ET, April 20, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 15 21 21 1673
    MIN 19 25 31 2095

    Top Performers

    San Antonio: G. Robinson 16 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 15 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    San Antonio looking ahead to first round vs. Nuggets

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Garnett quietly sneaked out the back door, avoiding the media on the last night of the Minnesota Timberwolves' disappointing season.

    It was a fitting finish to a chapter in Timberwolves history that few will want to talk about again.

    Ndudi Ebi had a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds and Michael Olowokandi had 10 points and 14 boards as Minnesota capped its season with a 95-73 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

    "It was a very disappointing season because the expectations were so high," interim coach Kevin McHale said. "We had a lot of depth, a lot of length, a lot of quickness. It just didn't materialize. And that's a travesty."

    The Spurs were uninterested for most of the game, already having locked up the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. They will open the playoffs on Sunday at home against Denver.

    Tim Duncan played just 23 minutes and the Spurs were outrebounded 58-39, outscored in the paint 54-20 and trailed by as many as 27 points.

    "It's mind-boggling," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Sometimes things just don't work out."

    For the Timberwolves, it was an anticlimactic ending to a season filled with contract squabbles, a coaching change and uninspired effort, the last of which completely befuddled the blue-collar McHale.

    When McHale took over in February after firing longtime coach and friend Flip Saunders, he preached work ethic, hustle and defense. But the Wolves didn't exhibit any of those traits on a consistent basis, limping to a 19-12 finish and missing the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons.

    Last year, the Timberwolves seemed poised to enter the NBA's elite when they broke a string of seven straight first-round playoff exits and advanced to the Western Conference finals.

    But they took a massive step back this year. Garnett was his typical outstanding self, but a nagging knee injury kept him just short of the level he reached last season when he was named MVP, and Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell were nowhere close to the same players they were last season.

    Garnett left the court for the final time this season with 10 minutes to go in the fourth, receiving a stirring standing ovation from an appreciative home crowd and even McHale himself.

    Garnett finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Trenton Hassell added 19 points.

    But Garnett's silence after the game spoke volumes for the season he has endured. Normally accessible and talkative after games, Garnett shooed away a few reporters who tried to chase him down as he headed to his vehicle.

    "Knowing how competitive he is, I know it kills him," Duncan said of Garnett. "I know from every game I played him that for him to be out of the playoffs, it hurts tremendously."

    Glenn Robinson scored 16 points to lead the Spurs, who are headed back to the playoffs, looking to improve on last year's disappointing finish. San Antonio led the Lakers 2-0 in the second round before losing four straight.

    Duncan, who scored just three points on 1-for-8 shooting, said he was "about 75 to 80 percent" recovered from his sprained ankle and will use the three days off to continue to heal.

    "There's just a couple of things I'm tentative about doing," he said. "But a lot of it is more conscious than anything, trying to protect myself."

    The Spurs will have to be much better against the Nuggets, who have been on a tear since George Karl took over as coach.

    "They're a very hot team," Duncan said. "They've been playing very well for the second half of the season under coach Karl. We'll have to be ready to play very well out of the gates."

    Game notes

    Before the game, the Timberwolves showed a short video tribute to former teammate Malik Sealy, who was killed in a car accident on May 20, 2000. ... The Timberwolves honored three students from Red Lake High School and their families at an intermission in the first quarter. The students survived a shooting at the school last month in which a 16-year-old boy killed five students, a teacher, and an unarmed security guard before killing himself.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 73 95
    FGM-FGA 26-73 (.356) 39-93 (.419)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 2-7 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 15-22 (.682) 15-16 (.938)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-39 19-58
    Assists 17 20
    Turnovers 14 11
    Steals 7 9
    Blocks 6 8
    Fast Break Points 7 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 27

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Glenn Robinson Robinson
    Points: 16
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 15
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 3