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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- MINNESOTA 28 20 27 30 105 DENVER 26 31 20 37 114 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: MIN - JOE SMITH 18, TERRELL BRANDON 17, KEVIN GARNETT 15 DEN - RON MERCER 27, NICK VAN EXEL 21, GEORGE MCCLOUD 21

HIGH REBOUND: MIN - JOE SMITH 9, RADOSLAV NESTEROVIC 9 DEN - RAEF LAFRENTZ 20, ANTONIO MCDYESS 10

HIGH ASSISTS: MIN - TERRELL BRANDON 7, WALLY SZCZERBIAK 4 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 10, ANTONIO MCDYESS 2

ATT: 18,506


Extended Box

MINNESOTA (105) AT DENVER (114)

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

K GARNETT F 23 7-10 1-2 3 3 6 3 1 0 4 15 SZCZERBIAK F 40 5-12 3-4 2 6 8 4 2 2 2 13 D GARRETT C 5 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 BRANDON G 35 6-20 4-4 0 3 3 7 3 4 3 17 PEELER G 25 5-10 0-0 0 1 1 1 4 1 2 11 SMITH 35 7-11 4-6 1 8 9 1 6 0 3 18 NESTEROVIC 26 2-5 5-8 3 6 9 0 5 2 1 9 SEALY 23 5-10 3-5 1 1 2 1 2 1 0 13 JACKSON 13 2-5 1-2 2 1 3 2 3 0 0 5 MITCHELL 5 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 HAMMONDS 9 1-2 2-2 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 4 AVERY 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

TOTALS 240 40-87 23-33 13 30 43 20 27 10 15 105 (.460) (.697) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 15(18 PTS)

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

MCDYESS F 40 8-19 1-1 0 10 10 2 5 2 3 17 POSEY F 19 2-4 1-2 0 1 1 0 4 2 0 6 LAFRENTZ C 39 7-16 4-5 7 13 20 1 5 1 2 19 MERCER G 40 11-18 5-9 1 4 5 0 3 2 4 27 VAN EXEL G 43 5-13 9-10 1 4 5 10 1 2 3 21 CLARK 8 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 3 0 1 0 BILLUPS 8 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 MCCLOUD 28 8-14 2-2 2 0 2 1 3 1 1 21 BOWEN 15 1-3 1-3 2 0 2 1 3 1 0 3 ALEXANDER DNP - COACH'S DECISION STITH DNP - COACH'S DECISION ROGERS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 42-89 23-32 13 33 46 15 27 11 15 114 (.472) (.719) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 15(14 PTS)

MINNESOTA 28 20 27 30 - 105 DENVER 26 31 20 37 - 114

BLOCKED SHOTS: MINNESOTA - K GARNETT, SMITH, NESTEROVIC. DENVER - MCDYESS 2, LAFRENTZ 2, MERCER, POSEY. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: MINNESOTA 2-7 (.286), BRANDON 1-4, PEELER 1-2, JACKSON 0-1. DENVER 7-14 (.500), POSEY 1-2, LAFRENTZ 1-2, VAN EXEL 2-5, MCCLOUD 3-5. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: BENNETT SALVATORE, GARY BENSON, TONY BROTHERS. A - 18,506. T - 2:17.


Box Score

MINNESOTA (105) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 23 7-10 1-2 3-6 3 1 15 Szczerbiak 40 5-12 3-4 2-8 4 2 13 D Garrett 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Brandon 35 6-20 4-4 0-3 7 3 17 Peeler 25 5-10 0-0 0-1 1 4 11 Smith 35 7-11 4-6 1-9 1 6 18 Nesterovic 26 2-5 5-8 3-9 0 5 9 Sealy 23 5-10 3-5 1-2 1 2 13 Jackson 13 2-5 1-2 2-3 2 3 5 Mitchell 5 0-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 Hammonds 9 1-2 2-2 0-1 1 1 4 Avery 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-87 23-33 13-43 20 27 105 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.460, FT-.697. 3-Point Goals: 2-7, .286 (Brandon 1-4, Peeler 1-2, Jackson 0-1). Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 3 (K Garnett, Smith, Nesterovic). Turnovers: 15 (K Garnett 4, Brandon 3, Smith 3, Peeler 2, Szczerbiak 2, Nesterovic). Steals: 10 (Brandon 4, Nesterovic 2, Szczerbiak 2, Peeler, Sealy).

DENVER (114) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mcdyess 40 8-19 1-1 0-10 2 5 17 Posey 19 2-4 1-2 0-1 0 4 6 Lafrentz 39 7-16 4-5 7-20 1 5 19 Mercer 40 11-18 5-9 1-5 0 3 27 Van Exel 43 5-13 9-10 1-5 10 1 21 Clark 8 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 3 0 Billups 8 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Mccloud 28 8-14 2-2 2-2 1 3 21 Bowen 15 1-3 1-3 2-2 1 3 3 Alexander DNP - coach's decision Stith DNP - coach's decision Rogers DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 42-89 23-32 13-46 15 27 114 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.472, FT-.719. 3-Point Goals: 7-14, .500 (Posey 1-2, Lafrentz 1-2, Van Exel 2-5, Mccloud 3-5). Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 6 (Mcdyess 2, Lafrentz 2, Mercer, Posey). Turnovers: 15 (Mercer 4, Mcdyess 3, Van Exel 3, Lafrentz 2, Billups, Clark, Mccloud). Steals: 11 (Mcdyess 2, Mercer 2, Posey 2, Van Exel 2, Bowen, Lafrentz, Mccloud). ____________________________________________ Minnesota 28 20 27 30 - 105 Denver 26 31 20 37 - 114 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: Minnesota 1 (Smith, 0:22 2nd). A: 18,506. T: 2:17. Officials: Bennett Salvatore, Gary Benson, Tony Brothers.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets are experiencing the joy of winning at the Pepsi Center.

George McCloud scored 13 of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets posted a 114-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost superstar Kevin Garnett to a sprained left ankle early in the third period.

The Nuggets have won four straight games for the first time since a five-game run from December 2-11, 1995 and improved to 6-2 at their new arena.

"We have to go out and play the same kind of ball on the road as we did tonight," McCloud said. "Teams are not thinking that we are an easy win anymore. We have a sixth man with the crowd around here."

Denver moved over .500 for the first time this late in the season since it was 18-17 in the 1994-95 campaign.

"I am going to enjoy the next five minutes before I get ready for the next game," Denver coach Dan Issel said. "This is the best effort from the starting five we've had all season."

Garnett, who scored 15 points, left with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter and did not return. There was no immediate word as to the severity of his injury. He spent the final quarter on the bench after being treated in the locker room.

"We can't let a team score 114 points and expect to win," said Minnesota forward Joe Smith. "Losing Kevin Garnett hurt us but we have to execute and play tough defense. George McCloud knocked a couple down. We have to be aware of shooters like that."

Ron Mercer scored 27 points for the Nuggets (6-5) while Raef LaFrentz recorded his second straight double-double with 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. He had 18 boards in Wednesday's 109-84 win over the Toronto Raptors.

"It was big getting Garnett out of the game," LaFrentz said. "Too bad it had to be because of an injury."

Minnesota trailed 59-52 when Garnett went out but overcame his absence to take an 86-83 lead on Bobby Jackson's jumper with 8:34 remaining in the fourth period that capped a 9-0 run.

But Antonio McDyess hit a jumper to put Denver ahead to stay at 94-93 with 6:04 to play. The Nuggets stretched their advantage to 109-100 on McCloud's 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining.

"George McCloud is a great rhythm shooter and tonight he got some big shots," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "Denver is a much-improved team. They did not beat themselves."

Smith scored 18 points and Terrell Brandon added 17 for the Timberwolves, who suffered their third straight loss.

"We have to go out and play hard as a team," Minnesota rookie Wally Szcerbiak said. "I made a couple of mental mistakes on George McCloud. The difference in this ballgame was a couple possessions down at the end."

"George was unbelievable," Issel added. "He's just getting to be where he wants to be. This is what we got him for."

Nick Van Exel scored 21 points and McDyess added 17 for Denver, which snapped a six-game losing streak against Minnesota. The Nuggets posted a season high with 37 points in the fourth quarter and converted 15 Minnesota turnovers into 21 points while shooting 47 percent (42-of-89) from the field.

"We really stepped in up on the `D,'" Issel said. "If we hadn't given up so many easy baskets, this wouldn't have been a close game."

Malik Sealy scored 13 points for the Timberwolves, including six straight that gave Minnesota an 84-83 lead early in the final period. The Timberwolves shot 46 percent (40-of-87).

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