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Turnovers doom Wolves in Game 4

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Minnesota Timberwolves found every way imaginable to turn over the ball: two shot-clock violations, three travels, a pass out of bounds and a double-dribble. That was all in the first quarter.

Mistake-prone Minnesota struggled to overcome its early problems and never found a consistent rhythm on either end of the floor, losing 87-81 to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series.

"They were a lot of unforced turnovers," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. "We just made bad decisions. We were doing a lot of things I haven't seen in a long time."

This time, league MVP Kevin Garnett couldn't carry his team
back.

Those nine turnovers in the opening quarter haunted the
Timberwolves all night. They worked most of the game to dig
themselves out of a big hole, and when they finally did, they blew
some of their best chances yet again.

Latrell Sprewell was called for a technical foul with 10:28
remaining in the game after Garnett was whistled for an offensive
foul.

"I just think we turned the ball over," Sprewell said. "It
really had to do with them pressuring us and not taking care of the
ball."

Everybody was susceptible to the slip-ups.

Garnett dealt with constant pressure, with Chris Webber in front of him and Vlade Divac or Brad Miller bumping him from behind. Midway through the first quarter, Garnett traveled. Moments later, he was swarmed again by the scrappy Kings defenders and the shot clock ran out on the Wolves.

Garnett was held to five first-half points and finished with 19
points and 21 rebounds.

Two nights earlier, the 6-foot-11 forward scored 15 of his 30
points after the third quarter to lead his team to a 114-113
overtime victory.

Timberwolves reserve center Michael Olowokandi traveled and double-dribbled 13 seconds apart in the final minute of the first
quarter, and things didn't get much better. The Wolves finished
with 24 turnovers.

Sacramento limited Minnesota to one shot on most possessions and didn't allow the Timberwolves any points in the paint -- the place they make their living -- until just before halftime.

"We have to be really in tune defensively against them," Kings
coach Rick Adelman said.

The top-seeded team in the Western Conference sure didn't look like it, trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half.

The Wolves had been pretty careful with the ball in the first
three games of this best-of-seven series, but perhaps they felt the
pressure of being up 2-1.

Minnesota had just eight turnovers in Monday's win.

Heading into Wednesday's game, Minnesota was 3-0 this season at raucous Arco Arena and was the only team to beat the Kings more than once on their home floor, where Sacramento has sold out an NBA record 225 straight games.

Saunders spoke before the game about the keys to beating the
Kings here, and one of the first things he mentioned was keeping
down the turnovers.

Not doing so means the Timberwolves now have to come back here for a Game 6 on Sunday.

"I said the recipe to playing against them is very basic -- you
can't turn the ball over," Saunders said. "To us, 24 turnovers is
very uncharacteristic."