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KG, Wolves draw Denver first

4/15/2004

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up the
top seed in the Western Conference while giving a lesson in playoff
style to the newcomer Grizzlies.

Behind Kevin Garnett's 26 points and Latrell Sprewell's 20, the
Timberwolves dominated the Grizzlies 107-90 Wednesday night.

The Grizzlies are seeded sixth for the first playoff appearance
for the franchise. They will play defending NBA champion San
Antonio.

"This is playoff basketball," said the Grizzlies' Lorenzen
Wright. "If we don't know what it's going to be like now, we
better get ready, because that's exactly how teams are going to be
playing us."

The Timberwolves ended the season with nine straight victories
and had no problems the Grizzlies from the start, leading by as
many as 29 points early in the fourth quarter.

"I told everybody before the game, let's not look back on this
and say we should have done this or we should have done that,"
Garnett said. "We were more conscious of what we had to do, put it
like that."

Minnesota was so comfortable by the final period that the
starters stayed on the bench.

"Our guys were focused," said Minnesota coach Flip Saunders.
"The difference in this team and in the past teams is that we're a
great defensive team now."

Memphis, losing its fourth straight, never led, and Minnesota
dominated the boards, outrebounding the Grizzlies 42-28.

In their third season in Memphis, the Grizzlies finished with a
surprising 50-32 record. Their best prior season was last year with
28 victories.

"We played the best team in the West," said Grizzlies coach
Hubie Brown. "The exhibition was totally unexpected. ... They
whipped us."

Sam Cassell and reserve Wally Szczerbiak added 17 points each
for the Timberwolves, who shot 54 percent for the night. Memphis
hit 41 percent of its shots from the field.

Pau Gasol, playing in his second game after missing four with an
injured foot, led the Grizzlies with 16 points, most coming in the
fourth period against Minnesota's reserves. Gasol was 4-of-10 from
the field.

Jason Williams had 15 points and James Posey had 14 for the
Grizzlies. Mike Miller added 11 points.

Minnesota went on a 20-2 run in the second period to lead at the
half 55-34. They outshot the Grizzlies 55 percent to 34 percent in
the first half.

Memphis drew a 19,000-plus crowd (19,351) for the fourth
straight home game, but fans began leaving at the beginning of the
third period with the Timberwolves up 90-63.

"I appreciate the fans for not booing us out," Brown said.
"They have not seen us get whipped like that at home."

Game notes
Wolves backup point guard Troy Hudson could miss the playoffs due to a nagging right ankle injury. Hudson was bothered by the injury for most of the season and appeared in only 29 games. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that Hudson will have surgery on the chronically sore ankle and will miss the playoffs. Team spokesman Mike Cristaldi couldn't confirm the story, telling AP that the team would make a decision on Hudson's playoff availability Thursday. Cristaldi said that a decision will be made later regarding surgery. ... Brown drew an ovation from the crowd when he walked on
court before the game and was shown on the big screen. ... Memphis
majority owner Michael Heisley stood at midcourt to thank the fans
for their support. "We've all grown to take this team into our
hearts," Heisley said. ... Minnesota has won 10 straight road
games against the Grizzlies. ... Garnett finished with nine
rebounds, leaving him one short of his 72nd double-double of the
season. The last player with 72 double-doubles was Hakeem Olajuwon
in the 1992-93 season.