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TIMBERWOLF NOTES

Garnett Stands by Teammates

May 02, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Minnesota Timberwolf star Kevin Garnett had every reason to criticize teammates Wally Szczerbiak and Rasho Nesterovic for not showing up in their series against the Lakers, but he didn't.

Instead, Garnett tried to focus on the positives from the Timberwolves' play in extending the Lakers to six games before being bounced out of the playoffs.

"I'm not the type of guy who is going to cry and whine," said Garnett, who had 18 points and 12 rebounds in the Lakers' 101-85 victory in Game 6 on Thursday. "I'm a soldier. I just go with who's with me and go to battle."

Unfortunately for Garnett, his teammates did not have a whole lot of fight in them. Other than Troy Hudson, who scored 18 points on Thursday, the Timberwolves had a bunch of players who played well in spurts, but for the most part, were average at best.

Szczerbiak finished with 14 points but half were scored in garbage time. Nesterovic had eight points, seven rebounds and finished with only two fouls in 29 minutes.

"We have eight free agents and I don't even think, [General Manager] Kevin McHale knows what's going to happen with this team," Garnett said about the Timberwolves' future. "We just have to try and take something from this."

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Instead of being down about his poor play, Szczerbiak talked about the Timberwolves' playoff run.

"We just had a great time going to war with these guys," he said. "We had a really good year and we just need to use this as motivation.... We got better this year and now we just have to get better next year too. We were close.... We have to learn from teams that beat us and regroup as a team, retool as a team and try to get individually better."

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Shaquille O'Neal on the Timberwolves: "They played well, but we put them away. Phil's motivation does very well for us, so we wanted to come out and play hard and focused. I think Troy Hudson kept them in that series."

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For Szczerbiak, playing on the road didn't really give him any relief after being booed at home during Game 5's 30-point loss to the Lakers.

"Not at all," Szczerbiak said. "I've been in New York. Our fans are a lot better than New York fans. It's just the nature of our business. It's too bad it's that way, but that's the way it is."

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