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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- MINNESOTA 25 18 30 22 95 LA LAKERS 23 26 25 27 101 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: MIN - TERRELL BRANDON 18, WALLY SZCZERBIAK 16, KEVIN GARNETT 15 LAL - SHAQUILLE ONEAL 33, KOBE BRYANT 25, RON HARPER 15

HIGH REBOUND: MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 15, WALLY SZCZERBIAK 7 LAL - SHAQUILLE ONEAL 14, ROBERT HORRY 6

HIGH ASSISTS: MIN - TERRELL BRANDON 9, KEVIN GARNETT 4 LAL - KOBE BRYANT 10, SHAQUILLE ONEAL 8

ATT: 18,912


Extended Box

MINNESOTA (95) AT LA LAKERS (101)

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

K GARNETT F 41 6-19 3-4 4 11 15 4 0 1 2 15 SZCZERBIAK F 34 6-10 4-6 5 2 7 2 2 4 1 16 NESTEROVIC C 20 4-7 0-0 2 3 5 2 5 0 2 8 BRANDON G 37 9-20 0-0 0 0 0 9 1 1 3 18 SEALY G 23 3-7 0-0 2 1 3 0 3 0 1 6 D GARRETT 13 2-5 0-0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 4 PEELER 25 3-7 2-2 1 4 5 2 1 2 0 9 SMITH 24 3-7 4-6 4 1 5 2 6 2 1 10 MITCHELL 12 2-5 1-1 1 1 2 1 3 0 0 5 JACKSON 11 1-3 2-2 0 3 3 0 1 0 1 4 AVERY DNP - COACH'S DECISION HAMMONDS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 39-90 16-21 20 26 46 22 23 10 11 95 (.433) (.762) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 11(14 PTS)

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

GREEN F 16 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 1 1 0 1 2 RICE F 30 3-10 4-4 1 3 4 2 3 2 1 11 ONEAL C 46 14-24 5-8 3 11 14 8 1 1 3 33 BRYANT G 42 7-18 11-11 1 2 3 10 1 2 6 25 HARPER G 24 6-8 2-2 1 4 5 1 1 2 2 15 HORRY 32 1-5 5-6 4 2 6 3 5 2 2 7 SHAW 20 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 FOX 15 3-5 0-0 1 2 3 1 4 0 0 6 KNIGHT 2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 CELESTAND 10 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 GEORGE 3 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 SALLEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 36-74 27-31 11 29 40 28 18 11 16 101 (.486) (.871) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 16(21 PTS)

MINNESOTA 25 18 30 22 - 95 LA LAKERS 23 26 25 27 - 101

BLOCKED SHOTS: MINNESOTA - K GARNETT, SMITH, D GARRETT. LA LAKERS - ONEAL 2, BRYANT, HARPER, KNIGHT. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: MINNESOTA 1-6 (.167), SZCZERBIAK 0-1, BRANDON 0-1, PEELER 1-4. LA LAKERS 2-12 (.167), RICE 1-3, BRYANT 0-4, HARPER 1-3, HORRY 0-1, FOX 0-1. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: JOE CRAWFORD, TIM DONAGHY, KEN MAUER. A - 18,912. T - 2:36.


Box Score

MINNESOTA (95) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 41 6-19 3-4 4-15 4 0 15 Szczerbiak 34 6-10 4-6 5-7 2 2 16 Nesterovic 20 4-7 0-0 2-5 2 5 8 Brandon 37 9-20 0-0 0-0 9 1 18 Sealy 23 3-7 0-0 2-3 0 3 6 D Garrett 13 2-5 0-0 1-1 0 1 4 Peeler 25 3-7 2-2 1-5 2 1 9 Smith 24 3-7 4-6 4-5 2 6 10 Mitchell 12 2-5 1-1 1-2 1 3 5 Jackson 11 1-3 2-2 0-3 0 1 4 Avery DNP - coach's decision Hammonds DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 39-90 16-21 20-46 22 23 95 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.433, FT-.762. 3-Point Goals: 1-6, .167 (Szczerbiak 0-1, Brandon 0-1, Peeler 1-4). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 3 (K Garnett, Smith, D Garrett). Turnovers: 11 (Brandon 3, K Garnett 2, Nesterovic 2, Jackson, Sealy, Smith, Szczerbiak). Steals: 10 (Szczerbiak 4, Peeler 2, Smith 2, Brandon, K Garnett).

LA LAKERS (101) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Green 16 1-1 0-0 0-3 1 1 2 Rice 30 3-10 4-4 1-4 2 3 11 Oneal 46 14-24 5-8 3-14 8 1 33 Bryant 42 7-18 11-11 1-3 10 1 25 Harper 24 6-8 2-2 1-5 1 1 15 Horry 32 1-5 5-6 4-6 3 5 7 Shaw 20 0-2 0-0 0-1 2 1 0 Fox 15 3-5 0-0 1-3 1 4 6 Knight 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Celestand 10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 George 3 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 Salley DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-74 27-31 11-40 28 18 101 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.486, FT-.871. 3-Point Goals: 2-12, .167 (Rice 1-3, Bryant 0-4, Harper 1-3, Horry 0-1, Fox 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 5 (Oneal 2, Bryant, Harper, Knight). Turnovers: 16 (Bryant 6, Oneal 3, Harper 2, Horry 2, Green, Rice, Shaw). Steals: 11 (Bryant 2, Harper 2, Horry 2, Rice 2, Celestand, Oneal, Shaw). ____________________________________________ Minnesota 25 18 30 22 - 95 La Lakers 23 26 25 27 - 101 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,912. T: 2:36. Officials: Joe Crawford, Tim Donaghy, Ken Mauer.


Game Story

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers cannot be accused of coasting into the playoffs.

Kobe Bryant made two foul shots to snap a tie with seven seconds remaining as the Lakers fought off a stiff challenge from the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 101-95 victory.

"This is the kind of game I'd like to have down the stretch," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It was a good game, to take one out of the fire. To win a game down the stretch is important, especially down the stretch on our home floor."

After Bryant's free throws gave the Lakers a 97-95 lead, Minnesota set up for a possible tying shot. The Timberwolves have won four games this season either at the buzzer or with less than a second remaining.

But they never got a chance for another last-second win as Glen Rice intercepted Terrell Brandon's pass and hit two foul shots with 4.2 seconds left. Minnesota turned over the ball again and Rice made two more from the line to clinch the victory.

The Lakers rode another ferocious effort from Shaquille O'Neal, who had 33 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. After missing two games with an ankle injury, O'Neal had 41 points and 16 rebounds in Friday's victory over Sacramento.

"I thought defensively, we were solid," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "We had the same problem everyone else has had for 80 games and that is trying to handle Shaq. He puts so much pressure on you defensively."

Kobe Bryant added 25 points and 10 assists for Los Angeles (67-13), which has won 14 of its last 15 games and needs to win its last two contests to match the 1971-72 Lakers for the second-best record in NBA history.

"This year, we are playing together," Bryant said. "In the past, it was Shaq in the post and four guys along the perimeter, which limits his skills and our ability to play together."

Los Angeles, which already has wrapped up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, improved to 30-2 since the All-Star break and 52-9 in the last 61 contests. The 1996-97 Utah Jazz hold the NBA mark for best post-All-Star break record, going 31-4.

"I don't think anyone is sending a set of rings to them yet," Saunders said. "Anyone knows to win a championship there is a lot of work and a little bit of luck involved."

Brandon scored 18 points and rookie Wally Szczerbiak 16 for Minnesota, which opened a 92-88 lead on two foul shots by Anthony Peeler with 2:48 to play.

The Timberwolves aggressively double-teammed O'Neal, but they could not stop him. The 7-1, 315-pound center scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-point play that brought the Lakers within 92-91 with 2:35 to go.

"It all revolves around Shaq," Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett said. "Now he is making his foul shots, putting points on the board, and he is in there late in the game. You just can't go in there hacking him because he is going to make a 3-point play out of it."

After Kevin Garnett, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds, missed a pair of jumpers for the Timberwolves, O'Neal dunked to put Los Angeles up with 1:04 remaining.

The fourth quarter featured six ties, with neither team leading by more than four points. After Szczerbiak hit 1-of-2 from the line, Bryant converted a pair from the line to make it 95-93 with 43 seconds to play. They were his first points of the period.

Minnesota, which is 11-4 this season in games decided by three points or less, pulled even again on Joe Smith's jumper from the top of the key with 27 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, the Lakers got the ball to Bryant, who was fouled by Radoslav Nesterovic as he drove into the lane.

After a timeout, the Timberwolves got the ball at midcourt. The inbounds pass went to Brandon on the right wing, but he was trapped as he went up for a jump shot and passed went right into the hands of Rice.

"Terrell was wide open, but Kobe closed big-time, made a great defensive play and he couldn't get a shot off," Szczerbiak said.

The Lakers dominated inside, outscoring the Timberwolves in the paint, 58-30. They shot 49 percent (36-of-74) from the field while holding Minnesota to 43 percent (39-of-90).

Ron Harper added 15 points for the Lakers, who opened a 49-43 lead at the half. Minnesota scored 30 points in the third period to pull within 74-73 entering the final quarter.

Minnesota suffered its 11th straight road loss to the Lakers.

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