Minnesota Timberwolves

This Date in NBA History (May 19): Birthday Boy Kevin Garnett leads Timberwolves to first-ever Conference Finals in 2004 and more

On May 19th in 2004, Kevin Garnett stuffed the stat sheet and led the Minnesota Timberwolves to an 83-80 win against the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

With the win, they booked the franchise's first-ever appearance in the Conference Finals. It remains the Timberwolves' only Conference Finals appearance since it first joined the NBA in 1989. In fact, to date, that series is the franchise's only Conference Semifinals appearance as well.

On his 28th birthday, the then reigning league MVP, Garnett finished with 32 points (12-of-23 FG; 7-of-11 FT), 21 rebounds, five blocks, four steals, and two assists in 46 minutes of action.

Being the only MVP in franchise history, with averages of 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds (led the league), 5.0 assists, and 2.2 blocks while playing all 82 games of the 2003-04 season, he led the Timberwolves to a franchise-best 58-24 record.

Just over a month earlier, this entire game was streamed across the NBA's social platforms

In this historic game for the franchise, Sam Cassell was the other key contributor for the Timberwolves with 23 points, seven assists, and four rebounds.

The Kings were led by the trio of Mike Bibby (15 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists), Doug Christie (21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals), and Chris Webber (16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) but it wasn't enough as they were eliminated for a second straight year in a Game 7 of their Conference Semifinals series (In 2002, Mavericks eliminated them in 7).

Prior to this, the Timberwolves had made seven straight playoff appearances (1997-2003) but each time, they were eliminated in the first round.

Year Opponent
1997 Lost First Round 3-0 to Houston Rockets
1998 Lost First Round 3-2 to Seattle SuperSonics
1999 Lost First Round 3-1 to San Antonio Spurs
2000 Lost First Round 3-1 to Portland Trail Blazers
2001 Lost First Round 3-1 to San Antonio Spurs
2002 Lost First Round 3-0 to Dallas Mavericks
2003 Lost First Round 4-2 to Los Angeles Lakers

In the subsequent series - the 2004 Conference Finals, the Timberwolves were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Since then, the Timberwolves have made just one playoff appearance - in 2018 - a first-round appearance where they eliminated in five by the Houston Rockets.

Other notable events on May 19th

  • In 1987, Magic Johnson is named league MVP - his first in a four-year span. En route to becoming the first guard to win the award in 23 years since Oscar Robertson, Johnson averaged a career-high 23.9 points, a league-leading 12.2 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a league-best 65-17 record.

  • In 2005, Reggie Miller played his final NBA game - Game 6 of the Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Pistons. He finished with 27 points (11-of-16 FG; 4-of-8 3PT), two rebounds, two assists in 33 minutes of action as the Pacers lost 88-79.
  • In 2009, the Los Angeles Clippers won the NBA Draft Lottery. This was their first Lottery win since the 1998 NBA Draft where they selected Michael Olowokandi out of the University of Pacific. With the 1st pick in the 2009 Draft, they would go on to select Blake Griffin from the University of Oklahoma.

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