Monday, May 24, 2004

Szczerbiak helps Wolves even series


NBA Western Conference finals

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS - Even without injured Sam Cassell, the Minnesota Timberwolves had the energy and attitude to even the Western Conference finals.

Kevin Garnett scored 24 points and Darrick Martin had 15 points and six assists in place of Cassell, leading the Timberwolves to a 89-71 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 Sunday night.

Latrell Sprewell scored 17 points and Miami University graduate Wally Szczerbiak had 16, but the Wolves relied on their MVP to put away a game dominated by good defense and bad feelings.

There were seven technical fouls and several trash-talking tiffs in the fourth quarter. Karl Malone was ejected with 2:31 left for a flagrant foul on Martin, adding spice to a series that appeared to be one-sided after the Lakers' Game 1 win.

Garnett closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer that helped Minnesota hold off a one-man rally by Kobe Bryant, who scored 27 points and briefly roused the Lakers from their slumber. It wasn't nearly enough, and the Lakers matched the lowest-scoring playoff game in franchise history while making less than 37 percent of their shots.

Minnesota coach Flip Saunders had called it a must-win game, and his players responded with all the passion Los Angeles lacked - and Cassell, who played just 43 seconds because of his aching back, surely loved his teammates' toughness in the chippy final minutes.

Martin, a nine-year journeyman signed out of the CBA, outscored Los Angeles' entire frontcourt in the first half.

Shaquille O'Neal had 14 points and 16 rebounds, and Malone scored just five points while battling constant foul trouble.

L.A. LAKERS (71)-George 1-8 0-2 3, Malone 2-5 1-1 5, O'Neal 4-10 6-14 14, Bryant 10-24 7-10 27, Payton 3-10 0-0 8, Fisher 1-2 1-2 4, Medvedenko 1-3 0-0 2, Fox 0-0 0-0 0, Rush 1-4 0-0 3, Walton 1-1 0-0 3, Cook 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 25-70 15-29 71.

MINNESOTA (89)-Sprewell 6-14 2-2 17, Garnett 10-20 3-5 24, Johnson 2-3 3-4 7, Hassell 0-0 0-0 0, Cassell 0-0 0-0 0, Martin 4-11 6-6 15, Szczerbiak 6-16 2-2 16, Olowokandi 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Hoiberg 0-3 0-0 0, Madsen 3-4 0-0 6, Trent 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 33-74 16-19 89.

L.A. Lakers24131915-71
Minnesota32191721-89
3-Point Goals-L.A. Lakers 6-18 (Payton 2-4, Fisher 1-1, Walton 1-1, Rush 1-3, George 1-5, Bryant 0-4), Minnesota 7-21 (Sprewell 3-8, Szczerbiak 2-7, Garnett 1-1, Martin 1-4, Hoiberg 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-L.A. Lakers 57 (O'Neal 16), Minnesota 44 (Garnett 11). Assists-L.A. Lakers 14 (Bryant 6), Minnesota 25 (Sprewell 8). Total fouls-L.A. Lakers 17, Minnesota 25. Technicals-L.A. Lakers Defensive Three Second, O'Neal, Medvedenko, Payton, Szczerbiak, Johnson, Trent. Flagrant fouls-Malone. Ejected-Malone.




REDS
Lidle on his game from start to finish
ONLINE EXTRA: Photos from today's game
Homer chase is on for Jr.
Castro can contribute with bat, too
Offense finally flexing muscles

MORE BASEBALL
Cubs' Wood to have bone scan today
AL: White Sox bash way to first place

PREP SPORTS
Fast-pitch, baseball districts, plus track regionals on tap

Regionals in three sports; state tennis tourney starts

GOLF
Colonial is right up lefty Flesch's alley

BASKETBALL
Wallace guarantees victory

Szczerbiak helps Wolves even series

MORE SPORTS
Xavier grad Parker qualifies for Athens Games in air rifle

NASCAR's Stewart shows up at Indy
Sports digest
Sports on TV