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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 29 16 30 21 96 MINNESOTA 25 23 34 24 106 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 30, STEVE FRANCIS 20, TWO PLAYERS WITH 12 MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 21, TERRELL BRANDON 19, WALLY SZCZERBIAK 19

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - FOUR PLAYERS WITH 6 MIN - WALLY SZCZERBIAK 10, KEVIN GARNETT 9

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - SHANDON ANDERSON 5, STEVE FRANCIS 3 MIN - CHAUNCEY BILLUPS 9, TERRELL BRANDON 8

ATT: 14,779


Extended Box

HOUSTON (96) AT MINNESOTA (106)

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

ANDERSON F 23 2-6 0-2 1 5 6 5 3 0 1 5 THOMAS F 37 4-7 3-6 3 3 6 0 3 2 1 12 TAYLOR C 31 5-10 2-2 1 5 6 1 4 0 1 12 FRANCIS G 35 7-17 4-5 1 3 4 3 6 1 1 20 NORRIS G 27 2-6 2-2 0 1 1 2 0 0 4 6 MOBLEY 34 8-18 14-16 0 2 2 2 2 0 0 30 BULLARD 20 1-5 0-0 1 5 6 2 1 1 1 3 WILLIAMS 18 1-6 0-0 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 3 ROGERS 15 1-2 3-4 2 0 2 0 0 0 2 5 CATO DNP - SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE LANGHI DNP - COACH'S DECISION OLAJUWON DNP - SWOLLEN RIGHT KNEE

TOTALS 240 31-77 28-37 10 26 36 16 19 4 11 96 (.403) (.757) TEAM REBS: 14 TOTAL TO: 11(9 PTS)

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

K GARNETT F 36 7-15 7-9 2 7 9 7 4 2 3 21 MITCHELL F 22 1-3 2-2 0 2 2 1 1 0 1 4 NESTEROVIC C 17 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 4 BRANDON G 37 8-18 2-3 0 5 5 8 3 3 0 19 SZCZERBIAK G 37 8-13 3-4 2 8 10 4 4 0 1 19 BILLUPS 31 6-12 3-3 0 4 4 9 5 0 1 16 ELLIS 24 4-8 1-2 2 3 5 2 4 0 1 9 PEELER 23 4-6 0-0 1 2 3 4 1 1 1 9 SLATER 13 1-3 3-4 4 3 7 0 5 0 0 5 AVERY DNP - COACH'S DECISION D GARRETT DNP - COACH'S DECISION JACOBSON DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 41-82 21-27 11 36 47 35 29 6 8 106 (.500) (.778) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 8(9 PTS)

HOUSTON 29 16 30 21 - 96 MINNESOTA 25 23 34 24 - 106

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - ANDERSON, MOBLEY, ROGERS. MINNESOTA - MITCHELL 2. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 6-17 (.353), ANDERSON 1-1, THOMAS 1-2, FRANCIS 2-6, NORRIS 0-1, MOBLEY 0-2, BULLARD 1-4, WILLIAMS 1-1. MINNESOTA 3-9 (.333), MITCHELL 0-1, BRANDON 1-3, BILLUPS 1-3, PEELER 1-2. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - TAYLOR, MINNESOTA - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: TED BERNHARDT, SCOTT WALL, TIM DONAGHY. A - 14,779. T - 2:14.


Box Score

HOUSTON (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Anderson 23 2-6 0-2 1-6 5 3 5 Thomas 37 4-7 3-6 3-6 0 3 12 Taylor 31 5-10 2-2 1-6 1 4 12 Francis 35 7-17 4-5 1-4 3 6 20 Norris 27 2-6 2-2 0-1 2 0 6 Mobley 34 8-18 14-16 0-2 2 2 30 Bullard 20 1-5 0-0 1-6 2 1 3 Williams 18 1-6 0-0 1-3 1 0 3 Rogers 15 1-2 3-4 2-2 0 0 5 Cato DNP - sprained left ankle Langhi DNP - coach's decision Olajuwon DNP - swollen right knee _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 31-77 28-37 10-36 16 19 96 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.403, FT-.757. 3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Anderson 1-1, Thomas 1-2, Francis 2-6, Norris 0-1, Mobley 0-2, Bullard 1-4, Williams 1-1). Team rebounds: 14. Blocked shots: 3 (Anderson, Mobley, Rogers). Turnovers: 11 (Norris 4, Rogers 2, Anderson, Bullard, Francis, Taylor, Thomas). Steals: 4 (Thomas 2, Bullard, Francis).

MINNESOTA (106) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 36 7-15 7-9 2-9 7 4 21 Mitchell 22 1-3 2-2 0-2 1 1 4 Nesterovic 17 2-4 0-0 0-2 0 2 4 Brandon 37 8-18 2-3 0-5 8 3 19 Szczerbiak 37 8-13 3-4 2-10 4 4 19 Billups 31 6-12 3-3 0-4 9 5 16 Ellis 24 4-8 1-2 2-5 2 4 9 Peeler 23 4-6 0-0 1-3 4 1 9 Slater 13 1-3 3-4 4-7 0 5 5 Avery DNP - coach's decision D Garrett DNP - coach's decision Jacobson DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 41-82 21-27 11-47 35 29 106 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.778. 3-Point Goals: 3-9, .333 (Mitchell 0-1, Brandon 1-3, Billups 1-3, Peeler 1-2). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 2 (Mitchell 2). Turnovers: 8 (K Garnett 3, Billups, Ellis, Mitchell, Peeler, Szczerbiak). Steals: 6 (Brandon 3, K Garnett 2, Peeler). ____________________________________________ Houston 29 16 30 21 - 96 Minnesota 25 23 34 24 - 106 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 1 (Taylor, 2:20 2nd). Minnesota 1 (Illegal Defense, 7:01 4th). Flagrant fouls: Minnesota 1 (Slater, 1:51 2nd). A: 14,779. T: 2:14. Officials: Ted Bernhardt, Scott Wall, Tim Donaghy.


Game Story

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- In the fourth quarter, Terrell Brandon stood tall and Steve Francis took a seat on the bench.

Brandon scored 12 of his 19 points and fouled out Francis in the final period as the Minnesota Timberwolves held off the Houston Rockets, 106-96.

"We had a great second half," Brandon said. "We were more consistent and communicated better in the second half."

The 5-11 Brandon was relatively quiet through the first three quarters as he was outplayed by Francis, the 2000 co-Rookie of the Year, and the Rockets closed to 84-80 with 10:47 remaining on two free throws by Cuttino Mobley, who scored 30 points despite an abscessed wisdom tooth.

That's when Brandon came alive. He made a layup and jumper on consecutive possessions, then fed Wally Szczerbiak for a dunk. The burst built Minnesota's lead to 90-80 and Houston got no closer than six points thereafter.

"I usually start slow but I can't worry about that," said Brandon, who had eight assists without a turnover. "I have been in the league 10 years now and know that if shots aren't falling in the first half not to give up. I just want to help my teammates so when the shots aren't falling, I need to contribute in other ways."

Francis scored 20 points but fouled out when he hacked a driving Brandon with 6:12 to play and the Rockets trailing, 95-88. They scored just eight points thereafter and lost for the seventh time in eight games.

"They were just calling fouls," Francis said. "I can't do anything about that. Of course, a lot of people don't agree with fouls called on them. I guess it was fair. They (referees) saw what they saw. If I had been in the game, we would have won the game."

Kevin Garnett scored 21 points and Szczerbiak added 19 and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which defeated Houston for the sixth straight time.

"Houston is an extremely tough team to defend because of their perimeter people," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "They isolate you a lot and force you to do a lot of things that make it extremely difficult."

The Rockets were shorthanded up front as centers Kelvin Cato (sprained ankle) and Hakeem Olajuwon (swollen knee) sat out with injuries.

"You can look at it as an opportunity," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "Instead of jumping up and down and thinking it's a negative, you can turn it into a positive. ... It can work as a positive because they have to play us out on the floor with their big guys."

The Wolves had lost five of their last seven games overall but took the lead for good at 42-41 on a free throw by Brandon with 2:20 left in the second quarter. Francis scored 13 points in the first half but Houston trailed, 48-45.

Szczerbiak scored 10 points in the third quarter as Minnesota extended its lead to 82-75 entering the final period.

"He is playing more aggressively," Saunders said. "The one thing about Wally is that he takes some bad shots every now and then, but then he plays aggressively and plays hard. Today he went out there and ran the break and played hard."

Chauncey Billups, who had started most of the season, collected 16 points and nine assists off the bench for the Wolves, who shot 50 percent (41-of-82) from the field, held a 47-36 edge on the glass and committed just eight turnovers.

"Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do and just try the best I can," Billups said.

Maurice Taylor and Kenny Thomas scored 12 points apiece for the Rockets, who shot 40 percent (31-of-77) but stayed in it by making 28-of-37 free throws. Mobley was 14-of-16 from the line.

"It really came down to shooting," Tomjanovich said. "We just didn't make the shots that I think we can make. That changes the whole psychology of the game."

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