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After game one loss, it's back to the drawing board for Timberwolves
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Latrell Sprewell of the Minnesota Timberwolves walks off the court after a loss to the Sacramento Kings in Game one of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals during 2004 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2004 at the Target Center in Minneapolis (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images )
The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Sacramento Kings 104-98 Tuesday night in the first game of the Western Conference Semifinals. The loss is the Wolves first at home during the playoffs this season. It means, for now, the Timberwolves have been stripped of home court advantage through this best of seven game series.

Minneapolis, Minn. — The Timberwolves found themselves playing catch up to Sacramento all evening. The Wolves managed to erase an 11-point deficit in the first half and pull ahead by two points in the third quarter. But the Kings, led by sharp-shooting point guard Mike Bibby kept the Wolves down.

The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Kings, and actually had a higher shooting percentage than Sacramento. However, the Wolves turned the ball over twice as much as the Kings and they only made it to the free throw line 12 times compared to the Kings 35 free throw attempts.

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Image Webber's calling card

Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders says the Kings capitalized on his team's mistakes.

"They get 14 points on our turnovers. In a game where they got 100 and there was six free throws at the end, in a 90-point game when you're giving up 14 points on your offense that's putting too much pressure on your defense," Saunders said.

The loss against Sacramento means for now that the Wolves no longer have home-court advantage. In the NBA playoffs, the team with the best record in the conference at the end of the season gets to play four of each playoff series' potential seven games at home, including games one and seven.

Saunders says it's only one loss in a seven-game series. But now the team has to win game two Saturday at the Target Center and win at least one game in Sacramento to get the advantage back.

"That's what I told our guys, is that we screwed up what we worked 82 games for as far as home court. But now what we've got to do is get one. But the number one we've got to get is the one Saturday," he said.

The Timberwolves were led by guard Sam Cassell who had 40 points, half of which came from three-point shots. Trenton Hassell also had a strong night with 17 points. Cassell says he's confident the team will be able to make improvements after watching tape of the game.

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"I don't worry about that," he said. This loss is the first home loss we've had since the Boston loss. It's bound to happen, it happened. We've got to bounce back. We've got a couple of days to realize what we need to do. And we'll do it. It's just that simple."

Before the game, NBA Commissioner David Stern handed Timberwolves star forward and team leader Kevin Garnett the NBA's most valuable player trophy. But when the game started, the trophy didn't intimidate the Kings. Garnett managed 16 points and 18 rebounds. But the Kings double- and triple-teamed him, causing him to travel and make errant passes.

"I'm not going to sit up here and make a whole bunch of excuses because you have to come out and play the game. I was a little overzealous, I didn't play the game I was hoping for . A lot of bad decisions, I turned the ball over, but, I got my tape here and I'm going to go home and watch it and making some adjustments," he said.

The Timberwolves next game will be Saturday night at the Target Center. After that, they will travel to Sacramento for two more games. The Wolves beat the Kings twice on their court this season.

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