Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Friday, November 2nd
Game 2: Thursday, December 6th
Game 3: Thursday, March 21st
Game 4: Wednesday, April 3rd

    7:00 PM ET, April 3, 2002

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 18 22 17 2481
    MIN 21 24 25 2292

    Top Performers

    Mem: P. Gasol 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    Min: C. Billups 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl

    T-Wolves in playoffs sixth straight season

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves are back in the playoffs. But they're not patting themselves on the back yet.

    Chauncey Billups

    "There'll be no celebration around here," Chauncey Billups said after notching his first career triple-double. "Everybody expected to make the playoffs, our goal right now is getting back to the level we were at earlier in the season."

    Billups had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Minnesota to a 92-81 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, securing Minnesota's sixth straight playoff berth.

    With Kevin Garnett going 6-for-22 from the field, Billups picked up the slack in an otherwise lackluster effort by Minnesota, which built several double-digit leads only to have one of the NBA's worst teams pull back into the game.

    "A raggedy win, an ugly win, but it's a win," Garnett said.

    The Wolves, who were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for a fifth straight season last year, appeared to be pulling away heading into the fourth quarter. Garnett hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to give the Wolves a 62-48 lead at the 6:38 mark of the third.

    But Memphis wouldn't go away.

    "We had a chance, we were right there," Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said.

    The Grizzlies pulled back to within single digits during a 17-11 run to make it 73-65 early in the fourth quarter. Memphis, taking advantage of Minnesota shots that barely found the rim, pulled to 78-74 on Pau Gasol's two free throws with 4:02 left.

    But Minnesota got a 3-pointer and a fast-break basket from Wally Szczerbiak and a jumper from Billups to pad the lead. Garnett hit an 18-footer after a basket by Jason Williams at the other end to put the Wolves up 88-78 with 50 seconds left.

    "I think you're a little more at ease knowing that you're in (the playoffs)," Garnett said. "But then it's time to prepare yourself. You've got to finish games out. You've got to prepare yourself for a playoff type atmosphere."

    Gasol led Memphis with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Williams had 17 points and reserve Stromile Swift added 16 for the Grizzlies.

    "When you're fighting back like that and you miss open shots, it takes something out of you," Lowe said.

    Despite a poor shooting night, Garnett managed 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

    Garnett went 1-for-10 in the first half, his only field goal coming on a stuff underneath the basket. Minnesota also gave up 12 points on 12 turnovers, nine in the first half.

    The Grizzlies got their hands on several errant Wolves' passes that were either too hard or too soft.

    Minnesota appeared to be on its way to an early route, opening up a 32-22 lead on Anthony Peeler's 3-pointer with 7:09 left in the first half. But Memphis fought back, thanks in part to Minnesota's sloppy ballhandling, with a 16-6 run. Williams' driving layup made it 38-38 with 2:48 left.

    The Timberwolves led 45-40 at the half.

    Game notes

    Memphis forward Lorenzen Wright didn't make the trip to Minnesota. Wright had missed Tuesday night's game at Sacramento with back spasms. ... The Grizzlies have been to Target Center 14 times, winning only once on Feb. 18, 2001. The Wolves lead the series 24-4. ... Minnesota shot 9-for-25 in the fourth quarter. The Wolves shot just 39.1 percent in the fourth quarter in March, while allowing the opposition to hit a combined 47.9 percent.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 92
    FGM-FGA 31-84 (.369) 36-90 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 4-12 (.333) 8-19 (.421)
    FTM-FTA 15-21 (.714) 12-16 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-47 19-55
    Assists 16 28
    Turnovers 10 12
    Steals 6 4
    Blocks 8 9
    Fast Break Points 2 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (2/0) 18 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 18
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 26
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0