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NBA More spotlight is T'wolves' goal



Published: Fri, February 14, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Kevin Garnett's performance at the All-Star game may bring the team more exposure.

ATLANTA (AP) -- While most of the focus was on Michael Jordan at his final All-Star game, Kevin Garnett had an unforgettable night, too.

Garnett shot 17-for-24 and scored 37 points, nine of them in the second overtime, and was the MVP as the West defeated the East 155-145 Sunday night.

The six-time All-Star and his Minnesota Timberwolves are often overlooked. They hope that isn't the case in the second half of the season as the push for the playoffs begins.

"It got really, really intense," Garnett said. "I think the second overtime was really, really, really intense."

Wait till he sees what the second half of the season has in store.

First up: the Mavs

The Timberwolves return to work tonight, taking a record of 29-20 into their matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, the team with the league's best record at 38-10.

Minnesota is tied with Utah for fifth in the Western Conference, from which eight teams will advance to the playoffs.

If the season ended today, the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers wouldn't qualify for the postseason.

Finally over .500 with a record of 24-23, the Lakers still must catch one of the teams ahead of them to have a shot at title No. 4.

Los Angeles will play eight of its remaining 11 February games at home. In March, the Lakers play six home games and 10 road games.

East race

In the Eastern Conference, Jordan's Washington Wizards reside in eighth place with a record of 24-25.

The Wizards will try to stay ahead of Orlando, New York and Atlanta to grab one of the eight postseason berths. If they make it, it's safe to assume that Jordan probably has one more magical moment that he will unfurl before walking away.

Sort of like the shot he hit with five seconds remaining in the first overtime of Sunday's showcase game.

"I have a lot of memories of a lot of places, but I just want to go and try to make the playoffs, keep beating teams that we can beat. Teams we haven't beat, I want to beat them, too. Just try to keep moving on, get this thing over and done with," Jordan said.

Officially, over-and-done-with night is April 16 -- the final night of the regular season.

The playoffs will begin three days later, and we'll all know by then whether Jordan is finally finished and whether the Lakers will have earned a chance to go for a four-peat.




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