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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- MINNESOTA 27 20 26 21 94 DENVER 21 25 18 27 91 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 22, CHAUNCEY BILLUPS 22, WALLY SZCZERBIAK 16 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 27, JAMES POSEY 18, RAEF LAFRENTZ 15

HIGH REBOUND: MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 12, JOE SMITH 11 DEN - RAEF LAFRENTZ 10, RYAN BOWEN 9

HIGH ASSISTS: MIN - CHAUNCEY BILLUPS 8, KEVIN GARNETT 7 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 9, AVERY JOHNSON 8

ATT: 14,726


Extended Box

MINNESOTA (94) AT DENVER (91)

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

K GARNETT F 36 10-17 1-1 1 11 12 7 3 0 2 22 SMITH F 39 4-10 1-2 3 8 11 6 3 1 2 9 NESTEROVIC C 23 3-5 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 1 0 6 BILLUPS G 36 7-14 5-5 0 6 6 8 2 1 0 22 SZCZERBIAK G 40 7-16 1-2 2 0 2 0 2 3 1 16 TRENT 17 2-6 0-0 3 3 6 5 4 1 0 4 PEELER 28 4-10 2-2 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 12 AVERY 12 1-4 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 MITCHELL 9 0-4 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 EVANS DNP - COACH'S DECISION D GARRETT DNP - COACH'S DECISION WOODS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 38-86 10-12 9 32 41 29 17 7 7 94 (.442) (.833) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 7(2 PTS)

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

LAFRENTZ F 39 5-15 5-6 3 7 10 0 3 0 1 15 POSEY F 41 6-19 4-4 1 6 7 3 4 3 1 18 WILLIAMS C 20 1-4 0-0 4 1 5 1 2 0 1 2 LENARD G 32 4-10 0-0 0 4 4 2 0 0 0 10 VAN EXEL G 45 11-21 3-4 1 4 5 9 1 0 6 27 BOWEN 30 2-4 5-6 1 8 9 0 3 1 0 9 JOHNSON 17 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 8 1 0 0 2 G MCCLOUD 16 3-5 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 8 CHEANEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION HAMILTON DNP - COACH'S DECISION SATTERFIELD DNP - COACH'S DECISION SCOTT DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 33-81 17-20 10 33 43 24 14 4 9 91 (.407) (.850) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 11(15 PTS)

MINNESOTA 27 20 26 21 - 94 DENVER 21 25 18 27 - 91

BLOCKED SHOTS: MINNESOTA - K GARNETT 3, NESTEROVIC 2, TRENT. DENVER - LAFRENTZ 3, G MCCLOUD, POSEY, BOWEN. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: MINNESOTA 8-17 (.471), K GARNETT 1-1, BILLUPS 3-8, SZCZERBIAK 1-1, PEELER 2-5, AVERY 1-2. DENVER 8-22 (.364), LAFRENTZ 0-2, POSEY 2-6, LENARD 2-6, VAN EXEL 2-6, G MCCLOUD 2-2. TECHNICALS: MINNESOTA - DEFENSIVE THREE. OFFICIALS: RON GARRETSON, BENNIE ADAMS, TOM WASHINGTON. A - 14,726. T - 1:59.


Box Score

MINNESOTA (94) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp K Garnett 36 10-17 1-1 1-12 7 3 22 Smith 39 4-10 1-2 3-11 6 3 9 Nesterovic 23 3-5 0-0 0-2 0 1 6 Billups 36 7-14 5-5 0-6 8 2 22 Szczerbiak 40 7-16 1-2 2-2 0 2 16 Trent 17 2-6 0-0 3-6 5 4 4 Peeler 28 4-10 2-2 0-0 1 2 12 Avery 12 1-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 3 Mitchell 9 0-4 0-0 0-1 1 0 0 Evans DNP - coach's decision D Garrett DNP - coach's decision Woods DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 38-86 10-12 9-41 29 17 94 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.442, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals: 8-17, .471 (K Garnett 1-1, Billups 3-8, Szczerbiak 1-1, Peeler 2-5, Avery 1-2). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 6 (K Garnett 3, Nesterovic 2, Trent). Turnovers: 7 (K Garnett 2, Peeler 2, Smith 2, Szczerbiak). Steals: 7 (Szczerbiak 3, Billups, Nesterovic, Smith, Trent).

DENVER (91) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Lafrentz 39 5-15 5-6 3-10 0 3 15 Posey 41 6-19 4-4 1-7 3 4 18 Williams 20 1-4 0-0 4-5 1 2 2 Lenard 32 4-10 0-0 0-4 2 0 10 Van Exel 45 11-21 3-4 1-5 9 1 27 Bowen 30 2-4 5-6 1-9 0 3 9 Johnson 17 1-3 0-0 0-1 8 1 2 G Mccloud 16 3-5 0-0 0-2 1 0 8 Cheaney DNP - coach's decision Hamilton DNP - coach's decision Satterfield DNP - coach's decision Scott DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-81 17-20 10-43 24 14 91 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.407, FT-.850. 3-Point Goals: 8-22, .364 (Lafrentz 0-2, Posey 2-6, Lenard 2-6, Van Exel 2-6, G Mccloud 2-2). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 6 (Lafrentz 3, G Mccloud, Posey, Bowen). Turnovers: 11 (Van Exel 6, Lafrentz, Posey, Williams). Steals: 4 (Posey 3, Bowen). ____________________________________________ Minnesota 27 20 26 21 - 94 Denver 21 25 18 27 - 91 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Minnesota 1 (Defensive Three, 3:19 1st). Flagrant fouls: Minnesota 1 (Trent, 8:52 2nd). A: 14,726. T: 1:59. Officials: Ron Garretson, Bennie Adams, Tom Washington.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups had a happy homecoming to add to one of the roughest days in Denver Nuggets' history.

Billups, a Denver native, scored 22 points and handed out eight assists as the Minnesota Timberwolves squandered a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 94-91 victory over the Nuggets.

Denver was playing just hours after Dan Issel announced his resignation as coach and team president. Issel, who was suspended four games earlier this month for an ethnic slur directed at a fan, has been replaced by Mike Evans.

Billups made 7-of-14 shots and also grabbed six rebounds against the team for which he played from 1989-99.

"I just want to play well for my teammates and my family," Billups said. "It's not like I want to come back and beat these guys, I want to beat everybody. I just want to be aggressive."

Minnesota took its largest lead at 88-73 on a basket by Kevin Garnett with 6:45 left. A jumper by Wally Szczerbiak gave the Timberwolves a seemingly safe 90-81 advantage with 2:52 to go.

But Denver finally came alive and scored 10 straight points, including four consecutive free throws by James Posey, to grab its first lead of the second half, 91-90, with 43 seconds left.

Minnesota answered with an 18-foot jumper by Joe Smith off a feed from Garnett with 33 seconds to go. Garnett drew a double-team on the play, leaving Smith open.

"A little 15-footer," Smith said. "KG did a hell of a job of just redirecting that last play. He was patient enough to wait for me to get open. I wasn't nervous. It was a crucial situation."

After Voshon Lenard missed a 3-pointer for the Nuggets, Anthony Peeler made two foul shots with eight seconds remaining.

"We dodged a bullet letting a great shooter, Voshon Lenard, on that shot get wide-open at the end," Billups said. "That's his favorite spot."

"When you didn't practice yesterday, practice the day before, didn't the day before that, we knew we wouldn't be really sharp," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "We got them down, we just couldn't put them away. They made some shots and hung around."

After a timeout, Nick Van Exel missed a 3-pointer on Denver's final possession as the Nuggets suffered their fourth straight loss under Evans.

"It was a shot we wanted," Van Exel said. "We fought hard to come back, but we just couldn't get it done at the end of the game. We just have keep going and work hard."

"Except for one game, we have been very competitive," Evans said. "We've overcome a lot of adversity and have still been able to be very competitive. Vo had a great look at the end of the game, which he hardly ever misses, but it just didn't fall tonight."

The Timberwolves used a 12-0 run in the third quarter to take a 70-57 lead with 1:49 remaining. Garnett had five points in the spurt, which was capped by a short hook by Gary Trent.

Garnett finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Minnesota, which made 8-of-17 shots from beyond the arc. Szczerbiak added 16 points as the Wolves improved to 7-2 against Midwest Division foes.

Van Exel led all scorers with 27 points and Posey netted 18 despite 6-of-19 shooting. Raef LaFrentz collected 15 points and 10 rebounds for Denver, which shot 41 percent (33-of-81).

"We started off shaky and got off in a big hole. It was a good comeback as a team and we tried to build on the momentum," Posey said. "We just have to work on not having lapses at critical times."

The Nuggets have shot under 42 percent in 12 of the last 16 games. Their three-game home losing streak matches their longest since January 12-21, 2000.

Van Exel committed six of Denver's nine turnovers.

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