Wolves Win and Bear It vs. Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 6 (Ticker) --
The Minnesota Timberwolves were struggling on the road, but a trip to wherever the Grizzlies call home usually cures their ills.
Terrell Brandon had 22 points and 10 assists and Kevin Garnett collected 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Timberwolves snapped a four-game road losing streak with a 105-80 rout of the injury-riddled Memphis Grizzlies.
The Timberwolves have won 10 of 13 road games against the Grizzlies, who squared off with their Midwest Division foes at
the Pyramid for the first time since moving from Vancouver.
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Shane Battier loses the handle while surrounded by Wolves.
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"We played well in our last home game," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said, referring to Tuesday's 25-point win over Seattle. "We came out and got back to doing some of the things we were doing before (the road swing). We played basic basketball, defended well, rebounded extremely well and pretty much dictated the tempo of the game."
Brandon, who went 9-of-15 from the field, sparked the Timberwolves in the first quarter. He scored 10 points, registered five assists and led Minnesota to a 12-0 edge in fast-break points en route to a 29-22 lead.
"We just played a better team," Grizzlies coach Sidney Lowe said. "They are just a better ballclub. We turned the ball
over and they capitalized on it. You can't give them opportunities like that."
Garnett, who recorded his 11th double-double in the last 12 games, contributed six points and five rebounds in the second
period. Minnesota shot nearly 61 percent (14-of-23) from the field in the quarter and grabbed a commanding 58-37 halftime advantage.
"We were coming off a win and trying to carry that energy over, and we did that," Garnett said. "We took some things away and turned up the offensive a little bit by playing defense."
Garnett has recorded 14 double-doubles this season, ranking second in the NBA behind San Antonio's Tim Duncan.
Pau Gasol, the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November, shined for Memphis. The Spaniard netted 22 points on
8-of-13 shooting and grabbed 11 boards, but Memphis suffered its 22nd defeat in 26 all-time meetings with the Timberwolves.
The Grizzlies added center Lorenzen Wright to a crowded injured list before the game with a fractured knee. He joined center Bryant Reeves (back) and guard Michael Dickerson (groin) on the shelf.
The Timberwolves pounded the glass, outrebounding the Grizzlies, 50-40, and converting that into a 22-10 edge in second-chance points.
Brandon also led the Timberwolves' defensive effort. Grizzlies point guard Jason Williams had been averaging 14.1 points and 8.5 assists in his 17 previous starts but was held to 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting and just three assists 27 frustrasting minutes.
"Terrell and Jason Williams always have these kind of quiet battles that no one really pays attention to," Garnett said.
"But they're really, really energetic battles. From Sacramento to Memphis, they've been having some quiet battles."
The Timberwolves came into the game looking to contain Williams in much the same manner they controlled Seattle's Gary Payton two nights earlier. Payton was held to 15 points and six assists against Minnesota, well below his season averages.
"With the new rules, you've only got eight seconds to bring it across half-court," Saunders said. "If you can get the ball out of the one-guy's hands, especially if their team is dominated by a guy that really ignites their offense, which Jason does, it helps."
Memphis never made a significant dent in the deficit. The Timberwolves enjoyed an 87-65 cushion after 36 minutes as they
improved to 11-0 when leading after three quarters.
The Grizzlies floundered late, missing their first nine shots of the final period.
"Minnesota's the best executing team in the NBA. I warned my team of that," Lowe said. "You can't win shooting only 36
percent against a team like this."
Timerwolves rookie Loren Woods took advantage, hitting a 15-foot jumper from the right corner with 3:20 left to give Minnesota its largest lead at 101-72.