MINNEAPOLIS-- The Minnesota Timberwolves went to their small-ball lineup and used solid defense to make the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and their two superstars seem even smaller.
Kevin Garnett had 35 points and 20 rebounds, Troy Hudson scored 37 points and Minnesota held Los Angeles to 36.3-percent shooting Tuesday night in a 119-91 victory that evened the first-round series at one game apiece.
"Just got after it, man," Garnett said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves on both ends. We just pressured up."
Minnesota, eliminated in the first round the past six seasons, made sure it didn't go down 2-0 in the series.
"We tried to exploit some of their weaknesses," coach Flip Saunders said. "Troy is the kind of guy who can attack."
Game 3 is Thursday night in Los Angeles, where the Wolves are 3-24 against the Lakers.
"They're going to have to stab us, cut our heart out and leave us in the morgue," Garnett said. "You can knock us out, but we're going to get back up. We have a team that's going to fight."
A somber Shaquille O'Neal, who spent a day and a half in South Carolina for his grandfather's funeral, showed up about 90 minutes before tipoff and wasn't much of a factor, despite 27 points and 14 rebounds.
Kobe Bryant, the other half of the Lakers' dominant duo, had a below-standard 27 points on 9-of-28 shooting after a sensational 39-point performance in Sunday's opener. The Lakers won that game 117-98 to swipe home-court advantage from the fourth-seeded Timberwolves.
Minnesota shot 50 percent in that one and still lost by 19.
So the Timberwolves shored up their defense -- applying more pressure on the ball, denying passing lanes and limiting O'Neal to just a few easy dunks down low.
"I don't think they can play any better than that," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "They played a desperate game."
In the other playoff game Tuesday, Milwaukee even its series against New Jersey at 1-all with an 88-85 victory.
On Wednesday, New Orleans is at Philadelphia, with the 76ers leading the series 1-0; Orlando is at Detroit, with the Magic up 1-0; and Portland is at Dallas, with the Mavericks ahead 1-0.
Saunders started Anthony Peeler in place of power forward Joe Smith, who didn't even get in. Peeler and Hudson helped run a solid transition game, and Peeler did a quality job guarding Bryant.
With Smith starting Game 1, Wally Szczerbiak played shooting guard and was too busy trying to chase Bryant on the defensive end to find a rhythm on offense.
But this worked much better for the Wolves in keeping Bryant in check.
"I wanted to make sure I made it tough on him," Peeler said. "I got him talking a little bit, and that's what I wanted right there. I know I had him out of his game when he was talking back."
Bryant was fouled hard on his right shoulder by Garnett on his first shot of the second half, and he grimaced as he made his way to the foul line.
Hudson's 37 points set a franchise record for a playoff game. He averaged only 14.2 points during the regular season, and his best effort was 31.
"I was just staying aggressive, like the coaches told me to," said Hudson, who beat the halftime horn with a 3-pointer that put the Wolves up 57-43.
The Lakers had their most lopsided postseason loss since 2000, when Indiana beat them 120-87 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Minnesota, which had never won a postseason game by more than nine points, led by as many as 24 in the third quarter but let the Lakers creep back into it in the fourth. Los Angeles got to 96-83 on a free throw by O'Neal, but Garnett made two jumpers, sandwiched around two free throws by Hudson to push the lead back to 19.
Garnett's last basket -- a jumper from 12 feet -- elicited a thunderous chant of "MVP" from the crowd.
His teammates were only 4-for-16 from the field in the final period, and all the baskets came in garbage time.
L.A. LAKERS (91)
Fox 2-7 0-0 6, Madsen 3-8 1-1 7, O'Neal 10-19 7-9 27, Bryant 9-28 7-9 27, Fisher 3-6 0-0 8, George 1-4 0-0 2, Horry 3-8 0-0 6, Pargo 0-5 0-0 0, Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Shaw 0-0 1-1 1, Rush 2-5 2-2 7, Medvedenko 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 33-91 18-22 91.
Garnett 15-21 4-6 35, Szczerbiak 6-11 9-11 21, Nesterovic 1-2 0-0 2, Peeler 2-7 0-0 5, Hudson 9-16 15-16 37, Gill 0-1 0-0 0, Strickland 2-3 0-0 4, Trent 0-3 0-0 0, M.Jackson 4-7 4-4 12, Wilks 1-1 0-0 3, Woods 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-72 32-37 119.
L.A. Lakers 23 20 24 24 -- 91
Minnesota 28 29 31 31 -- 119
3-Point Goals--L.A. Lakers 7-25 (Fisher 2-3, Fox 2-4, Bryant 2-6, Rush 1-3, George 0-1, Horry 0-4, Pargo 0-4), Minnesota 7-14 (Hudson 4-6, Wilks 1-1, Garnett 1-2, Peeler 1-4, Szczerbiak 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--L.A. Lakers 42 (O'Neal 14), Minnesota 57 (Garnett 20). Assists--L.A. Lakers 23 (Bryant 8), Minnesota 26 (Hudson 10). Total fouls--L.A. Lakers 31, Minnesota 25. Technicals--Minnesota Defensive Three Second. A--17,132 (19,006).
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