T'wolves' money man scores 23, series tied at 1-1
Posted: Wednesday May 12, 1999 01:52 AM
Garnett scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday night to lead Minnesota past the San Antonio Spurs 80-71 and even their Western Conference playoff series 1-1.
"All I can say is I'm proud of these guys," said Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders. "Now we have a series."
With the victory, the eighth-seeded Timberwolves grabbed the homecourt advantage from the No. 1-seeded Spurs in the best-of-5 series. Game 3 is Thursday in Minnesota.
Minnesota led 37-31 at halftime despite shoddy play by both teams in the first two quarters. The Timberwolves took a 60-51 margin into the fourth period.
Duncan opened the final quarter with a basket for San Antonio and Garnett answered for the Timberwolves. And so it went as Duncan scored the first eight points in the period for the Spurs. Garnett scored the first four for the Timberwolves, and added six more before the final buzzer.
"We just tried to find ways to match their intensity," Garnett said. "The whole thing was we were totally aggressive, totally aggressive."
Garnett said he enjoyed his matchup with Duncan and that he tried to take make his moves when the Spurs weren't double-teaming him.
"There was a point that we both looked at each other and winked, like, 'Good shot, good shot,'" Garnett said. "Tim is a great competitor. The key is to take advantage of every one-on-one situation."
Garnett shot 5-for-8 and grabbed four of his 12 rebounds in the fourth quarter. Duncan had eight points and four rebounds in the final period.
"They moved the ball around well. They had open looks and they knocked them down," Duncan said.
"In the first half, [the Spurs] were on defense most of the game and we got a lot of offensive rebounds. That was the big key to controlling the offense," Saunders said.
The Spurs seemed stunned by the homecourt loss.
"We know what we have to do," Duncan said. "I can't express enough how important the next game is."
After watching Sacramento upset Utah on Monday, Spurs center David Robinson said he thought San Antonio would have been on guard against a similar outcome.
"I thought we would have been sharp. I don't understand why we weren't," he said. "We are not the kind of team that can take anything for granted."
San Antonio closed within four points several times in the final minutes, but Garnett's shooting kept the Spurs at bay. The Timberwolves improved their advantage to 72-66 on a field goal by Garnett with 3:34 left to play and the Spurs couldn't get close again.
Duncan finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds, while Avery Johnson had 16 points for the Spurs and David Robinson had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams shot less than 40 percent.
San Antonio finished the regular season 37-13, winning the Midwest Division title and capturing the top seed in the conference. The Timberwolves were 25-25 in the regular season.
Notes: Mitchell came off the bench Tuesday to contribute nine points. ... Joe Smith had 10 rebounds for Minnesota. ... Garrett fouled out with 1:48 remaining in the game. ... The victory snapped Minnesota's 11-game losing streak on the road and San Antonio's 13-game win streak at home. ... The Spurs' bench scored just seven points, compared with 17 for the Timberwolves. ... The average age of Minnesota's 12-man roster is 28, while the average age for the Spurs is 30.7.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.