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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- PHOENIX 17 20 20 30 87 MINNESOTA 30 16 22 18 86 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: PHO - RODNEY ROGERS 23, ANFERNEE HARDAWAY 22, TWO PLAYERS WITH 8 MIN - MALIK SEALY 19, WALLY SZCZERBIAK 18, KEVIN GARNETT 14

HIGH REBOUND: PHO - SHAWN MARION 9, ANFERNEE HARDAWAY 7 MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 13, TWO PLAYERS WITH 7

HIGH ASSISTS: PHO - ANFERNEE HARDAWAY 9, TWO PLAYERS WITH 4 MIN - TERRELL BRANDON 11, KEVIN GARNETT 4

ATT: 19,006


Extended Box

PHOENIX (87) AT MINNESOTA (86)

PHOENIX REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

MARION F 20 4-6 0-0 2 7 9 1 1 3 2 8 ROBINSON F 45 3-9 1-2 0 6 6 4 2 3 2 7 LONGLEY C 19 3-7 2-2 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 8 HARDAWAY G 44 10-20 2-2 3 4 7 9 3 1 4 22 LIVINGSTON G 19 2-6 0-0 0 1 1 2 3 0 0 4 O MILLER 19 1-1 2-2 0 5 5 2 2 0 2 4 DAY 22 2-8 2-2 0 2 2 2 3 1 0 7 ROGERS 31 8-16 6-9 2 4 6 4 1 5 4 23 JOHNSON 18 2-3 0-0 0 2 2 2 1 0 0 4 MACLEAN 3 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 BAILEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION BLOUNT DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 35-77 15-19 7 32 39 26 16 14 18 87 (.455) (.789) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 19(24 PTS)

MINNESOTA REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

K GARNETT F 42 6-17 2-3 5 8 13 4 2 0 3 14 SZCZERBIAK F 35 8-13 0-0 1 1 2 1 3 1 5 18 NESTEROVIC C 15 0-2 0-0 0 5 5 2 3 0 1 0 BRANDON G 35 3-14 1-1 1 0 1 11 0 3 3 8 SEALY G 34 7-12 5-5 1 6 7 2 1 3 2 19 JACKSON 12 1-4 2-2 1 2 3 3 1 3 0 4 SMITH 27 4-11 4-4 3 4 7 0 3 1 4 12 D GARRETT 13 1-1 0-0 1 4 5 1 0 1 0 2 MITCHELL 13 2-5 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 4 PEELER 14 1-6 2-2 1 3 4 0 2 0 0 5 AVERY DNP - COACH'S DECISION HAMMONDS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 33-85 16-17 14 34 48 24 17 12 18 86 (.388) (.941) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 21(15 PTS)

PHOENIX 17 20 20 30 - 87 MINNESOTA 30 16 22 18 - 86

BLOCKED SHOTS: PHOENIX - ROBINSON 2, O MILLER 2, ROGERS. MINNESOTA - SZCZERBIAK, D GARRETT, SMITH. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: PHOENIX 2-14 (.143), ROBINSON 0-3, HARDAWAY 0-2, LIVINGSTON 0-1, DAY 1-4, ROGERS 1-3, MACLEAN 0-1. MINNESOTA 4-8 (.500), SZCZERBIAK 2-4, BRANDON 1-3, PEELER 1-1. TECHNICALS: PHOENIX - MARION. OFFICIALS: TERRY DURHAM, MARK WUNDERLICH, DEREK RICHARDSON. A - 19,006. T - 2:11.


Box Score

PHOENIX (87) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Marion 20 4-6 0-0 2-9 1 1 8 Robinson 45 3-9 1-2 0-6 4 2 7 Longley 19 3-7 2-2 0-1 0 0 8 Hardaway 44 10-20 2-2 3-7 9 3 22 Livingston 19 2-6 0-0 0-1 2 3 4 O Miller 19 1-1 2-2 0-5 2 2 4 Day 22 2-8 2-2 0-2 2 3 7 Rogers 31 8-16 6-9 2-6 4 1 23 Johnson 18 2-3 0-0 0-2 2 1 4 Maclean 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Bailey DNP - coach's decision Blount DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 35-77 15-19 7-39 26 16 87 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.455, FT-.789. 3-Point Goals: 2-14, .143 (Robinson 0-3, Hardaway 0-2, Livingston 0-1, Day 1-4, Rogers 1-3, Maclean 0-1). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 5 (Robinson 2, O Miller 2, Rogers). Turnovers: 19 (Hardaway 4, Rogers 4, Longley 3, Marion 2, O Miller 2, Robinson 2, Maclean). Steals: 14 (Rogers 5, Marion 3, Robinson 3, Day, Hardaway, Longley).

MINNESOTA (86) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 42 6-17 2-3 5-13 4 2 14 Szczerbiak 35 8-13 0-0 1-2 1 3 18 Nesterovic 15 0-2 0-0 0-5 2 3 0 Brandon 35 3-14 1-1 1-1 11 0 8 Sealy 34 7-12 5-5 1-7 2 1 19 Jackson 12 1-4 2-2 1-3 3 1 4 Smith 27 4-11 4-4 3-7 0 3 12 D Garrett 13 1-1 0-0 1-5 1 0 2 Mitchell 13 2-5 0-0 0-1 0 2 4 Peeler 14 1-6 2-2 1-4 0 2 5 Avery DNP - coach's decision Hammonds DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-85 16-17 14-48 24 17 86 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.388, FT-.941. 3-Point Goals: 4-8, .500 (Szczerbiak 2-4, Brandon 1-3, Peeler 1-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 3 (Szczerbiak, D Garrett, Smith). Turnovers: 21 (Szczerbiak 5, Smith 4, Brandon 3, K Garnett 3, Sealy 2, Nesterovic). Steals: 12 (Brandon 3, Jackson 3, Sealy 3, D Garrett, Smith, Szczerbiak). ____________________________________________ Phoenix 17 20 20 30 - 87 Minnesota 30 16 22 18 - 86 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Phoenix 1 (Marion, 5:07 1st). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 19,006. T: 2:11. Officials: Terry Durham, Mark Wunderlich, Derek Richardson.


Game Story

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Rodney Rogers showed why he is the NBA's top sixth man.

Rogers came off the bench and scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Phoenix Suns overcame a 13-point deficit in the final period before pulling out an 87-86 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rogers entered the contest averaging 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, but the 6-7 forward has made a habit of being the Suns' most potent scorer in crunch time. This afternoon was no different.

After Bobby Jackson buried two free throws to give Minnesota a comfortable 72-59 cushion with 11:17 to play, Rogers scored eight points during a breathtaking 17-4 burst. He sank a 14-footer to cap the run, forging a 76-76 tie with 5:23 to play.

Rogers added two free throws and a 3-pointer before putting the Suns ahead to stay with a pair from the line with 17 seconds remaining.

"When (Rogers) came back in, he was great," Phoenix coach Scott Skiles said. "He's made huge plays for us this trip ... all year, really. If he doesn't win the Sixth Man award, he's getting robbed."

Joe Smith, who fouled Rogers for the winning free throws, missed a six-footer with three seconds left.

"It was a tough one, we let it slip away," Smith said. "Down the stretch, they did a better job of executing than we did. We played well in the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter we gave it away."

Penny Hardaway scored 22 points for the Suns, who moved one game ahead of fifth-place San Antonio in the Western Conference. The Spurs lost at Miami tonight.

"Every win is important," Rogers said. "We're just trying to win as many games as we can and secure the fourth spot in the playoffs. We had some good defensive stops (in the fourth quarter), unlike early in the game when we were disgruntled and had to get ourselves organized. We came up big again tonight and won a close ballgame."

Phoenix also welcomed back Kevin Johnson, who returned from a two-year retirement 10 days ago after point guard Jason Kidd went down for the rest of the regular season with a broken left ankle. Johnson had four points and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

"We're glad to see Kevin out there," Rogers said. "We know it's been a while for him to get back to his old self. The man has been out for two years, you've got to expect that."

"I can't tell you how excited I was to be back on the court," Johnson added. "I tried to be reserved and pretty under control to lead up to this point, but it was just so exciting to be back there on the court. I'm just glad the team got a victory tonight and I was part of it. It's a great feeling."

Malik Sealy scored 19 points and rookie Wally Szczerbiak added 18 for Minnesota, which has lost three of four since a six-game winning streak.

"We have to try and win out and get momentum for the playoffs," Sealy said. "Our biggest thing is we need to continue to play solid basketball. We can't be too conservative about moving up in the standings because we don't want to move down."

Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost the season series with Phoenix, 3-1.

"My main goal was to come in here and not let (Garnett) go crazy on us," Suns forward Cliff Robinson said. "He scored 14 points. I feel like I did my job and we were able to get a win. I just try not to let him get a lot of easy opportunities."

Minnesota jumped out to an early 30-17 lead behind 12 points by Szczerbiak and kept a safe distance from the Suns until Rogers' fourth-quarter outburst.

Johnson actually started Phoenix's run by hitting a 20-footer. Todd Day sank a 25-footer before Rogers' six-foot hook shot cut the deficit to 72-66 with 8:54 remaining.

Minnesota point guard Terrell Brandon made a runner, but Day hit two free throws and Rogers answered Szczerbiak's layup with one of his own before Hardaway trimmed the margin to 76-72 with a slam. Rogers had a layup and a 14-footer to tie it, but Garnett made two free throws to give Minnesota a 78-76 lead with 5:12 left.

Hardaway made a driving layup and Rogers added two more from the stripe to give Phoenix an 80-78 advantage. Smith's layup tied it again before Rogers was good from 25 feet to give the Suns their biggest lead, 83-80, with 2:55 remaining.

Smith made a 16-footer and two free throws to put Minnesota back in front, but Hardaway's runner with 1:07 to go gave Phoenix a one-point advantage. Sealy made two free throws with 57 seconds left to put Minnesota ahead, 86-85.

But Smith was called for a questionable foul on Rogers, who put Phoenix in front for good by nailing both free throws with 17 seconds left.

"It's the second game at home where we've got a negative call for us in the last few seconds," Brandon said. "They're all judgment and tough calls for the refs. We thought Joe played great defense on Rogers, but the foul was called."

Smith finished with 12 points for the Timberwolves, who shot 39 percent (33-of-85), held a 48-39 advantage on the boards and scored 24 points off turnovers.

Rookie Shawn Marion and Luc Longley scored eight points apiece for the Suns, who shot 45.5 percent (35-of-77).

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