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Garnett's buzzer beater lifts Timberwolves to crucial win

Mar 26, 2007 - 1:18 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett will need to provide consistent heroics to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to an improbable playoff spot. He held up his end of the bargain against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Garnett scored 22 points and drilled the game-winning shot as time expired to lift the Timberwolves to a 94-93 triumph over the Trail Blazers.

It was just the fifth victory in the last 17 games for Minnesota (30-39), which climbed within 3 1/2 games of the idle Los Angeles Clippers (34-36) for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

"If you position yourself and you play hard and follow the game plan, you always give yourself and your team a chance to win," Garnett said.

The 2004 MVP, Garnett grabbed nine rebounds and shot 10-of-19 from the floor. But none was more important than his last basket, a buzzer-beating fadeaway jumper from the free-throw line.

"It feels good to win," Garnett said. "It was a good win for us today. Afternoon games are not always the easiest. It was a back-and-forth kind of game."

Minnesota took a 92-89 lead on rookie Randy Foye's layup with 51 seconds left.

But Portland rookie Brandon Roy made a layup 13 seconds later to cut the deficit to one. After Garnett travelled on the ensuing possession, the Trail Blazers took a 93-92 lead on rookie LaMarcus Aldridge's putback with eight seconds left.

After having their initial in-bounds pass knocked out of bounds, the Timberwolves did not waste another opportunity with just over two seconds left. Trenton Hassell found Garnett, who drilled the game-winner over Aldridge's outstretched arm.

"Trent did a (heck) of a job," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "People just don't understand the guy that takes the ball, what a responsibility that is - especially at the five-second count with 2.2 seconds left."

Garnett admitted he counted off the waning seconds in his head while making the game's decisive move and shot.

"I anticipated that being about two seconds, just counting in my head," he said. "I saw one of their players there, so I didn't know if I was going to have the chance to put it down."

After a lengthy review, officials ruled that Garnett released the shot before the horn sounded.

"I was behind it and it looked good," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "I felt like it was good when it went in. The defense was about as good as you could get. We had two guys around him, and he fades away."

Foye scored 17 points off the bench and Ricky Davis added 15 for Minnesota, which shot 55 percent (38-of-69) from the floor to offset a 40-32 disadvantage on the glass.

Roy scored 22 points to pace the Blazers, who fell to 2-2 against the Timberwolves this season.

"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight," McMillan said. "It was a tough game. We had an opportunity when we were up with two seconds left in the game. We needed a stop; they made a tough play and a good shot."








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