After a tough battle with the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves taking on Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals.
The Timberwolves came in as the top seed in the West and the Lakers right behind them. Beginning in Minnesota, the Lakers took Game 1 decisively before dropping Game 2, 89-71. Back in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton helped the team take two games to push the series lead to three games to one.
A close game in Minnesota went in favor of the home team and pushed the series to a sixth game back in Los Angeles. Bryant and O’Neal combined for 45 points en route to a series-clinching 96-90 victory. Reserve forward Kareem Rush added 18 points to help the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals. Bryant led the team in scoring in the series, averaging just over 24 points a game.
See Kareem Rush help the Lakers return to the finals in Game 6 here:
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