Spurs devour 'Wolves

Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2001

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tim Duncan scored 24 points and David Robinson added 21 as the San Antonio Spurs wrapped up their first-round series against Minnesota with a 97-84 victory Monday night.

The Spurs, 3-1 winners of the series, also knocked the Wolves out of the first round in 1999, before going on to win the NBA title. They will play the winner of the Dallas-Utah series.

''It doesn't matter who we play,'' said Duncan, who also had 16 rebounds. ''You can say that, and sometimes it does matter. This time, it really doesn't. If Dallas comes back, that could take a lot of them. Utah would be fine, too.''

The Wolves lost in the first round for the fifth time in as many seasons. Their 0-5 series record in the playoffs is the worst among all NBA franchises.

Minnesota's Anthony Peeler and Terrell Brandon, both scoreless in the first half, hit back-to-back 3-pointers with less than six minutes left as the Timberwolves rallied from a 10-point deficit to make it 75-73. The Spurs outscored the Wolves 22-11 the rest of the way, including a pair of baskets by Robinson that pushed the Spurs' lead to 79-73.

''There was a tough stretch where we got into a slump there,'' said Robinson, who had 14 rebounds. ''Coming back down the floor, I felt pretty good so I put them up there.

''Finishing out this game means so much to me. We've still got to get better.''

The Wolves' Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points, giving him 38 over the last two games. He was held to 18 points in the first two games of the series.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Brandon finished with 17.

Robinson played the fourth period with four fouls. He picked up his fourth with 4:26 remaining in the third period, and the Spurs leading 63-57.

They took a 71-63 lead into the fourth quarter, with the help of 3-pointers by Danny Ferry and Antonio Daniels. They both made four 3-pointers for the game.

Ferry finished with 18 points and Daniels had 16 to make up for a poor shooting night by Duncan, who was 8-for-23.

''It was either a swish or an airball, it seems,'' Ferry said. ''We've ridden on Timmy's back all season, but when teams double-team him we have guys who can shoot the ball.''

The Timberwolves' guards missed their first 10 shots. Brandon and Peeler were a combined 0-for-6 in the first half, which ended with the Spurs leading 44-43.

Reserves scored 17 of 19 points for the Spurs during a stretch between the first and second periods, boosting their lead to 31-26.

Malik Rose scored the Spurs' final seven points of the first period, which ended at 19-19. Reserves Daniels, Rose and Samaki Walker combined to score 21 of the Spurs' 44 points in the first half.

Notes: Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders became the first coach in NBA history to lose in the first round five seasons in a row. ... The Wolves lost Game 4 for the fourth season in a row. ... The Spurs have never been forced to Game 5 of a five-game series after winning the first two games. ... Peeler was 9-for-41 in the Wolves' three losses. ... The contest drew 16,336 fans, the second-smallest crowd in team playoff history and about 3,000 short of a sellout. The crowd included Baseball Hall of Fame-elect Kirby Puckett and Minnesota Vikings players Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper and Korey Stringer.

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