Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Wednesday, November 9th
Game 2: Friday, December 2nd
Game 3: Saturday, December 10th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 15th

Lakers 74

(3-2, 2-1 away)

Timberwolves 88

(3-2, 3-0 home)

7:00 PM ET, November 9, 2005

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 23 22 16 1374
MIN 14 31 23 2088

Top Performers

LAL: K. Bryant 28 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Min: K. Garnett 17 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Timberwolves stop Kobe's 30-point streak at four games

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have spent a lot of time talking about becoming a defensive team. Now they're starting to play like one.

The Timberwolves snapped Kobe Bryant's 30-point game streak at four and Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 15 rebounds in an 88-74 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

"That's all we've talked about is defense, defense, defense," Timberwolves guard Troy Hudson said. "Now we're coming out and backing up our talk."

Bryant entered the night averaging nearly 37 points a game and was coming off consecutive 37-point outings. He finished with 28 points on 12-of-26 shooting, but was a non-factor in the fourth quarter thanks to a stingy zone defense employed by new coach Dwane Casey.

As soon as he was hired, Casey started stressing team defense to a group that basically considered it an afterthought in 10 years under Flip Saunders. At least early in the season, the Timberwolves seem to be embracing the new identity.

They held the Lakers to 32 percent shooting and 29 points in the second half. Lakers' point guard Smush Parker, who had been averaging over 17 points a game, was held scoreless and Lamar Odom added 15 points and six rebounds before fouling out.

"They're focusing on defense," Odom said. "You can tell."

Bryant seemed to get frustrated with his lack of involvement in the fourth, hoisting a few wild shots that weren't even close and losing the ball on a pair of reckless drives to the basket. He also missed two free throws down the stretch and was 0-for-5 from the field in the period.

"We had mental lapses in the fourth quarter," Bryant said. "It comes from us not playing together for a long time. It comes from inexperience."

Bryant's struggles allowed the Timberwolves to overcome a 1-for-10 start to the quarter and seal the win with an 8-0 run that pushed the lead to 82-69 with under 3 minutes to play.

Eddie Griffin, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, capped the run with a jumper from the baseline and headlined an impressive performance by the Wolves' reserves.

Minnesota's subs outscored their Los Angeles counterparts 36-19 to overshadow a rough shooting day from their top two scorers.

Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak combined to shoot 12-for-28, but Trenton Hassell scored 14 points and harassed Bryant on defense, and Hudson added 10 points and six assists off the bench to get the Timberwolves their second win in a row.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson was upset with a few early foul calls on center Chris Mihm that he says took them out of their game plan.

"When you start out a ball game and the first thing they do is call an offensive foul on him for a nonexistent foul, you know the kid doesn't have a chance out there playing," Jackson said. "The referees just give him nothing. It's embarrassing."

One night after shooting 52 percent in victory over Atlanta, the Lakers hit their first four shots to jump out to an 11-2 lead. They led by as many as 10 in the first half before Casey went with a smaller lineup that sparked the Wolves.

Hudson sparked a 14-3 run and Garnett's tip dunk gave the Wolves a 37-36 lead, their first advantage since 2-0.

Bryant was 8-for-13 for 18 points in the first half, but was slow out of the gates in the third quarter.

He managed just two points in the first 10 minutes of the period before finishing with six straight.

"We wanted him to see five white jerseys every time he touched the ball," Hudson said. "We have trust in each other."

Casey deemed the fourth quarter the team's best defensive period of this young season, and smiled as he watched his team collapse on Bryant every time he drove to the basket.

"We made stands," Casey said proudly. "We're doing a much better job picking it up defensively."

Game notes

Casey will leave Minneapolis on Thursday to be with his family for funeral services for his father. He will rejoin the team at Denver on Sunday. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before the game that he was a candidate for the Timberwolves' coaching job when the NBA expanded here in 1988. Jackson never interviewed and instead took over in Chicago in 1989 and went on to win six titles with Bulls. "I was lucky I wasn't chosen," he said.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 74 88
FGM-FGA 32-78 (.410) 34-76 (.447)
3PM-3PA 2-6 (.333) 3-15 (.200)
FTM-FTA 8-14 (.571) 17-19 (.895)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-38 10-39
Assists 17 22
Turnovers 14 17
Steals 6 6
Blocks 1 9
Fast Break Points 10 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 23 (0/0)
Largest Lead 10 16

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Kobe Bryant Bryant
Points: 28
Reb: 4
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 17
Reb: 15
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 1