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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 20 15 26 24 85 MINNESOTA 26 26 26 24 102 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - BRYCE DREW 20, KELVIN CATO 15, HAKEEM OLAJUWON 15 MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 23, SAM MITCHELL 17, ANTHONY PEELER 13

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - KELVIN CATO 9, HAKEEM OLAJUWON 8 MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 18, RADOSLAV NESTEROVIC 6

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - BRYCE DREW 10, WALT WILLIAMS 5 MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 9, SAM MITCHELL 7

ATT: 18,223


Extended Box

HOUSTON (85) AT MINNESOTA (102)

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

BULLARD F 19 2-5 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 6 WILLIAMS F 34 6-14 1-1 1 2 3 5 2 2 2 14 CATO C 33 5-10 5-6 3 6 9 1 1 1 1 15 ANDERSON G 24 1-9 4-4 0 3 3 1 0 1 1 6 DREW G 45 9-20 1-1 0 3 3 10 0 1 1 20 OLAJUWON 24 7-12 1-4 3 5 8 1 0 0 4 15 THOMAS 20 1-3 0-0 2 2 4 0 2 0 0 3 MOBLEY 27 1-8 2-3 0 3 3 0 0 0 3 4 GRAY 14 0-3 2-4 0 1 1 1 2 1 0 2 FRANCIS DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT KNEE MILLER DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 32-84 16-23 9 27 36 19 8 6 12 85 (.381) (.696) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 13(14 PTS)

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

K GARNETT F 34 10-19 2-4 1 17 18 9 1 3 4 23 MITCHELL F 31 8-11 0-0 0 5 5 7 2 0 1 17 NESTEROVIC C 30 5-7 0-0 2 4 6 0 3 0 1 10 JACKSON G 30 4-9 2-2 0 1 1 3 2 0 1 10 SEALY G 23 1-6 0-0 0 5 5 6 1 0 1 2 AVERY 18 4-7 0-0 0 3 3 3 1 2 3 9 SMITH 19 3-4 4-4 1 3 4 1 3 0 2 10 D GARRETT 11 1-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 3 0 1 2 SZCZERBIAK 16 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 3 2 0 0 2 PEELER 26 6-12 0-0 1 1 2 4 1 1 1 13 HAMMONDS 2 2-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 BRANDON DNP - SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE

TOTALS 240 45-80 8-10 5 42 47 36 19 6 15 102 (.563) (.800) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 15(12 PTS)

HOUSTON 20 15 26 24 - 85 MINNESOTA 26 26 26 24 - 102

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - CATO 3, THOMAS, MOBLEY. MINNESOTA - SMITH 2, D GARRETT 2, K GARNETT, NESTEROVIC, MITCHELL. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 5-16 (.313), BULLARD 2-3, WILLIAMS 1-3, ANDERSON 0-2, DREW 1-5, THOMAS 1-1, MOBLEY 0-2. MINNESOTA 4-6 (.667), K GARNETT 1-1, MITCHELL 1-1, JACKSON 0-1, AVERY 1-1, PEELER 1-2. TECHNICALS: MINNESOTA - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: JOE FORTE, DAVID JONES, MIKE SMITH. A - 18,223. T - 1:54.


Box Score

HOUSTON (85) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Bullard 19 2-5 0-0 0-2 0 1 6 Williams 34 6-14 1-1 1-3 5 2 14 Cato 33 5-10 5-6 3-9 1 1 15 Anderson 24 1-9 4-4 0-3 1 0 6 Drew 45 9-20 1-1 0-3 10 0 20 Olajuwon 24 7-12 1-4 3-8 1 0 15 Thomas 20 1-3 0-0 2-4 0 2 3 Mobley 27 1-8 2-3 0-3 0 0 4 Gray 14 0-3 2-4 0-1 1 2 2 Francis DNP - sprained right knee Miller DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-84 16-23 9-36 19 8 85 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.381, FT-.696. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Bullard 2-3, Williams 1-3, Anderson 0-2, Drew 1-5, Thomas 1-1, Mobley 0-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 5 (Cato 3, Thomas, Mobley). Turnovers: 13 (Olajuwon 4, Mobley 3, Williams 2, Anderson, Cato, Drew). Steals: 6 (Williams 2, Anderson, Cato, Drew, Gray).

MINNESOTA (102) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 34 10-19 2-4 1-18 9 1 23 Mitchell 31 8-11 0-0 0-5 7 2 17 Nesterovic 30 5-7 0-0 2-6 0 3 10 Jackson 30 4-9 2-2 0-1 3 2 10 Sealy 23 1-6 0-0 0-5 6 1 2 Avery 18 4-7 0-0 0-3 3 1 9 Smith 19 3-4 4-4 1-4 1 3 10 D Garrett 11 1-1 0-0 0-2 0 3 2 Szczerbiak 16 1-2 0-0 0-1 3 2 2 Peeler 26 6-12 0-0 1-2 4 1 13 Hammonds 2 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 4 Brandon DNP - sprained left ankle _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 45-80 8-10 5-47 36 19 102 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.563, FT-.800. 3-Point Goals: 4-6, .667 (K Garnett 1-1, Mitchell 1-1, Jackson 0-1, Avery 1-1, Peeler 1-2). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 7 (Smith 2, D Garrett 2, K Garnett, Nesterovic, Mitchell). Turnovers: 15 (K Garnett 4, Avery 3, Smith 2, D Garrett, Jackson, Mitchell, Nesterovic, Peeler, Sealy). Steals: 6 (K Garnett 3, Avery 2, Peeler). ____________________________________________ Houston 20 15 26 24 - 85 Minnesota 26 26 26 24 - 102 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Minnesota 1 (Illegal Defense, 1:35 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,223. T: 1:54. Officials: Joe Forte, David Jones, Mike Smith.


Game Story

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett had 23 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to an easy 102-85 victory over the Houston Rockets, who were without rookie star Steve Francis.

Garnett, who will represent Minnesota in the NBA All-Star Game, tied a franchise record with 17 defensive rebounds but was held without an assist in the final quarter, leaving him one short of his second triple-double of the season.

"I felt like I didn't shoot the ball well," said Garnett, even though he made 10-of-19 shots. "I was just trying to share the ball -- dominate in other categories like rebounds and assists."

Garnett was also gracious when describing his feeling towards his All-Star selection.

"I think anything that's awarded to me is also awarded to our team," Garnett added. "I want to thank the fans who voted for me. They're the ones who pay their hard-earned money to see us. It's a sense of respect, but we can't be satisfied."

The Rockets were without Francis, their point guard and leading scorer who sprained his knee in Friday's win over Philadelphia. He did not travel with the team as a precautionary measure and his status is day-to-day.

"Six games in nine nights and back-to-back games," said Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, explaining his teams' sub-par performance. It wasn't much of a game -- one of the few we've had like that all year -- and with our energy guy (Francis) out."

Starting in place of Francis, Bryce Drew did his best to pick up the slack, scoring a career-high 20 points along with 10 assists. That was nowhere near enough to slow down the red-hot Timberwolves, who are a blistering 19-5 since December 18.

"Steve is our floor leader, but Bryce did a good job," Rockets center Kelvin Cato said. "He did the same things Steve would do. He got 20 points and ran the team pretty well. We just didn't make any shots."

Anthony Peeler ignited a 12-0 run to open the second quarter with six points, giving the Timberwolves a 38-20 lead with 8:47 left. Houston battled back with an 11-1 run to trim the deficit to 42-33 with 4:24 to go. But Minnesota scored 10 of the final 12 points of the period to take a 52-35 advantage at halftime.

The Timberwolves shot a blistering 57 percent in the half compared to only 29 percent for Houston. The Rockets never got closer than 11 points in the third quarter and trailed by as many as 23 points in the final period.

"I thought we came out with great energy tonight," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. "We rebounded really well and moved the ball. Our defense was key and we were really active."

Houston center Hakeem Olajuwon's rebound at the end of the third quarter gave him 12,851 for his career, moving him past Hall of Famer Bob Pettit for 12th place on the all-time list.

Olajuwon had 15 points, his best output since returning from hernia surgery, and grabbed eight rebounds. Cato also collected 15 points and Walt Williams added 14 for the Rockets, who shot 38 percent (32-of-84) from the floor and made only 16-of-23 free throws.

"He's (Garnett) all over the place, Tomjanovich said. "The guys great. Before, they used to say he's a tremendous athlete with skills, but now I think you can call him a shooter. He can make shots along with all the other things."

Minnesota was playing without starting point guard Terrell Brandon, who is recovering from a twisted left ankle suffered early in the fourth quarter of their win over Utah on Saturday.

Bobby Jackson started in place of Brandon and finished with 10 points and Peeler provided a spark with 13 off the bench, including 11 in the decisive second quarter.

Sam Mitchell scored 17 points and dished seven assists and Joe Smith and Radoslav Nesterovic scored 10 apiece for the Timberwolves, which shot a scintilating 56 percent (45-of-80), held a 47-36 rebounding advantage and collected 36 assists.

"Passing has been the reason for our success," Smith said. "KG's the main man, but we all try to get others involved. Tonight was a prime example of what we can do when we play our game."

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