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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- MINNESOTA 26 26 16 19 87 HOUSTON 35 30 30 19 114 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: MIN - WALLY SZCZERBIAK 16, WILLIAM AVERY 16, KEVIN GARNETT 11 HOU - HAKEEM OLAJUWON 24, STEVE FRANCIS 18, CUTTINO MOBLEY 16

HIGH REBOUND: MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 6, RADOSLAV NESTEROVIC 6 HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 10, TWO PLAYERS WITH 9

HIGH ASSISTS: MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 6, TERRELL BRANDON 4 HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 7, HAKEEM OLAJUWON 6

ATT: 16,285


Extended Box

MINNESOTA (87) AT HOUSTON (114)

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

K GARNETT F 29 4-15 3-3 3 3 6 6 4 1 5 11 SZCZERBIAK F 28 6-10 4-4 3 1 4 3 2 2 0 16 SLATER C 15 0-0 3-4 2 3 5 0 2 1 0 3 BRANDON G 20 3-7 0-0 1 1 2 4 0 0 1 6 LOPEZ G 14 2-7 0-0 1 0 1 2 2 2 2 5 PEELER 19 3-8 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 2 2 6 NESTEROVIC 18 1-7 0-0 0 6 6 1 3 1 1 2 MITCHELL 20 2-6 2-2 0 4 4 1 2 0 0 6 BILLUPS 21 2-6 1-2 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 6 ELLIS 21 3-5 2-2 0 4 4 1 5 0 1 8 D GARRETT 13 1-4 0-0 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 AVERY 22 5-9 5-7 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 16

TOTALS 240 32-84 20-24 11 26 37 23 24 12 14 87 (.381) (.833) TEAM REBS: 4 TOTAL TO: 14(22 PTS)

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

ANDERSON F 33 2-5 11-12 1 4 5 1 2 1 4 15 BULLARD F 24 3-5 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 9 OLAJUWON C 28 9-12 6-8 2 7 9 6 4 2 1 24 FRANCIS G 35 7-14 2-4 3 6 9 7 5 0 5 18 MOBLEY G 35 7-15 2-2 3 7 10 4 1 2 3 16 CATO 17 2-4 0-0 2 5 7 1 3 0 0 4 WILLIAMS 24 4-11 2-2 1 5 6 0 2 1 2 11 LANGHI 16 3-6 0-0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 6 NORRIS 19 4-7 0-0 1 2 3 3 0 1 1 8 ROGERS 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 S COLSON 6 1-5 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 1 0 3 THOMAS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 42-84 23-28 14 40 54 23 20 8 18 114 (.500) (.821) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 18(17 PTS)

MINNESOTA 26 26 16 19 - 87 HOUSTON 35 30 30 19 - 114

BLOCKED SHOTS: MINNESOTA - NESTEROVIC. HOUSTON - OLAJUWON, CATO. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: MINNESOTA 3-12 (.250), K GARNETT 0-1, BRANDON 0-1, LOPEZ 1-1, PEELER 0-3, MITCHELL 0-2, BILLUPS 1-2, AVERY 1-2. HOUSTON 7-21 (.333), ANDERSON 0-3, BULLARD 3-3, FRANCIS 2-4, MOBLEY 0-3, WILLIAMS 1-6, S COLSON 1-2. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: RONNIE NUNN, RON OLESIAK, PHIL ROBINSON. A - 16,285. T - 2:07.


Box Score

MINNESOTA (87) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 29 4-15 3-3 3-6 6 4 11 Szczerbiak 28 6-10 4-4 3-4 3 2 16 Slater 15 0-0 3-4 2-5 0 2 3 Brandon 20 3-7 0-0 1-2 4 0 6 Lopez 14 2-7 0-0 1-1 2 2 5 Peeler 19 3-8 0-0 0-1 2 1 6 Nesterovic 18 1-7 0-0 0-6 1 3 2 Mitchell 20 2-6 2-2 0-4 1 2 6 Billups 21 2-6 1-2 0-1 1 1 6 Ellis 21 3-5 2-2 0-4 1 5 8 D Garrett 13 1-4 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 Avery 22 5-9 5-7 0-1 1 1 16 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-84 20-24 11-37 23 24 87 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.381, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (K Garnett 0-1, Brandon 0-1, Lopez 1-1, Peeler 0-3, Mitchell 0-2, Billups 1-2, Avery 1-2). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 1 (Nesterovic). Turnovers: 14 (K Garnett 5, Lopez 2, Peeler 2, Avery, Brandon, D Garrett, Ellis, Nesterovic). Steals: 12 (Avery 2, Lopez 2, Peeler 2, Szczerbiak 2, D Garrett, K Garnett, Nesterovic, Slater).

HOUSTON (114) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Anderson 33 2-5 11-12 1-5 1 2 15 Bullard 24 3-5 0-0 0-2 1 0 9 Olajuwon 28 9-12 6-8 2-9 6 4 24 Francis 35 7-14 2-4 3-9 7 5 18 Mobley 35 7-15 2-2 3-10 4 1 16 Cato 17 2-4 0-0 2-7 1 3 4 Williams 24 4-11 2-2 1-6 0 2 11 Langhi 16 3-6 0-0 1-2 0 1 6 Norris 19 4-7 0-0 1-3 3 0 8 Rogers 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 S Colson 6 1-5 0-0 0-1 0 2 3 Thomas DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 42-84 23-28 14-54 23 20 114 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.821. 3-Point Goals: 7-21, .333 (Anderson 0-3, Bullard 3-3, Francis 2-4, Mobley 0-3, Williams 1-6, S Colson 1-2). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 2 (Olajuwon, Cato). Turnovers: 18 (Francis 5, Anderson 4, Mobley 3, Rogers 2, Williams 2, Norris, Olajuwon). Steals: 8 (Mobley 2, Olajuwon 2, Anderson, Norris, S Colson, Williams). ____________________________________________ Minnesota 26 26 16 19 - 87 Houston 35 30 30 19 - 114 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 16,285. T: 2:07. Officials: Ronnie Nunn, Ron Olesiak, Phil Robinson.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Hakeem Olajuwon's future in the NBA is uncertain. But if this was to be his final appearance in a Houston Rockets' uniform, at least he went out a winner.

Olajuwon collected 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Rockets routed the playoff-bound Minnesota Timberwolves, 114-87, in their regular season finale.

On March 27, Olajuwon returned to the lineup after missing nine games due to a blood condition in his left leg that appeared to be career-threatening.

Earlier in the season, Olajuwon requested a trade or a release so he could finish the season with a contender. It is possible the Rockets may not re-sign the greatest player in franchise history who led Houston to back-to-back NBA titles in the mid-1990s.

"If this was my last game, it was ideal," Olajuwon said. "We played well and we won. The game was so much fun. Everything just fell into place."

"He will play somewhere next year but I don't know if it will be Houston," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders added. "He can still score and rebound."

Olajuwon received a prolonged standing ovation from the fans at the Compaq Center when he went to the bench for the final time with 53 seconds remaining.

"All I know is I feel I can still play," Olajuwon said. "When I'm healthy, the game is much easier. Houston is my home, so the ideal situation is to play here."

"If we can make it happen, if we can have him be a factor, we're going to try everything in our power to make that happen," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich added. "We're going to try not to let this be his last game."

Olajuwon was pumped from the start, scoring 11 points in the first quarter, when the Rockets opened a 35-26 lead they never relinquished. He finished 9-of-12 from the field.

"He was all over the place," Tomjanovich said. "He was so sharp right from the beginning, not just on the offensive end but everywhere."

"You can't put it in words," Rockets guard Cuttino Mobley added. "Dream is a legend. This is a sad moment but I think he will be back next year."

Houston finished 45-37, which would have given it the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Rockets were beaten out for the final Western Conference playoff spot by Minnesota.

Although the Timberwolves had nothing on the line, this is hardly the way they wanted to go into the postseason. Minnesota concludes the regular season Wednesday at Dallas before facing San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs.

It was the worst loss of the season for the Timberwolves, who have dropped four of six. But Saunders did not appear too concerned.

"I think we will beat San Antonio," he said. "I was asked that question and that's what I said. I think if you ask the other 15 coaches, everybody thinks they will win. But I think we will win."

Wally Szczerbiak and William Avery scored 16 points apiece for Minnesota, which shot just 38 percent (32-of-84) while allowing Houston to shoot 50 percent (42-of-84).

"They were more aggressive than we were and I don't think anyone was happy with our performance," said Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett, who was held to only 11 points. "Maybe it was the 81st game but there's no excuse when you step on the court."

The Rockets opened their biggest lead, 101-70, on two foul shots by Walt Williams with 9:37 remaining.

"Tonight, we showed one thing that if you don't have an edge, it doesn't matter who you're playing or where you're playing," Saunders said. "You will get your butt kicked. We didn't have any edge and Houston did whatever they wanted."

Steve Francis scored 18 points and Mobley added 16 for the Rockets, who ended the season with a three-game winning streak.

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