San Antonio (46-24) at Minnesota (48-22)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 11° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Mar 23, 2004
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With a playoff spot secure, the Minnesota Timberwolves look to increase their lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the Midwest Division.

Minnesota earned its eighth straight postseason appearance when the Portland Trail Blazers lost 93-85 in overtime to the Houston Rockets on Monday.

The Timberwolves have an opportunity to move three games in front of San Antonio atop the Midwest Division.

Kevin Garnett had 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, and Sam Cassell and Wally Szczerbiak added 18 points each to lead Minnesota past Denver 98-77 Sunday.

Without Troy Hudson (sore right ankle), Garnett spelled Cassell at point guard and became just the 17th player in NBA history to reach 13,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists.

“I didn’t ask for this assignment,” Garnett said. “It was kind of shoved in my mouth, but it’s something I can swallow. We just simplify the game a little bit.”

Garnett running the point wasn’t the only lineup change for the Wolves. Center Michael Olowokandi, who started the past 12 games but struggled to adjust to the offense, came off the bench and chipped in 10 points.

“Playing with our secondary unit gives me a situation I’m more familiar with,” Olowokandi said.

Szczerbiak had his second straight strong performance in extended minutes as he works his way back from a heel injury. Szczerbiak had 24 points in 30 minutes Friday and played 23 more Sunday.

Tim Duncan had 26 points and 15 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup, and Manu Ginobili added 26 points in 24 minutes as the Spurs beat the Boston Celtics 103-87 Saturday.

After missing nine games with a left knee injury, Duncan came off the bench for the first time in his NBA career in the Spurs’ 106-86 victory over the Timberwolves on Thursday. He had 22 points on 6-for-15 shooting and 10 rebounds in that game.

San Antonio has won two straight following a two-game skid.

“We seem to have problems with the teams we’re supposed to do better against,” said Duncan, whose team has lost to Golden State and Cleveland in recent weeks.

Ginobili, who is averaging just under 18 points in his last five games. Ginobili shot 7-for-10 from the floor and made all nine of his free throws.

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