MINNEAPOLIS, April 4 (Ticker) --
The Memphis Grizzlies could not
contain a red-hot Sam Cassell
, and the All-Star guard put an end
to their seven-game winning streak.
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Cassell scored a season-high 36 points on 14-of-24 shooting to
lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to their fifth straight win, a
90-82 triumph over the Grizzlies.
"My teammates got me the ball in good positions on the court, so
it's easy to make a shot," Cassell said. "Kevin Garnett
some good screens for me, I just did what I had to do."
Minnesota (54-24) moved into a virtual tie with Sacramento for
first place in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves lead
the San Antonio Spurs by 1 1/2 games in the race for the Midwest
"The West is wide open right now," Cassell said. "Anyone can
win. This was a playoff atmosphere. (Memphis) pushed us to the
limit. We need to continue what we're doing, enjoy it, but out
work is not done."
Minnesota trailed 47-46 at the half but seized the lead in the
third quarter behind 12 points from Cassell.
The game was knotted at 64-64 when the Timberwolves scored five
straight points, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Cassell, to take
the lead for good.
MVP candidate Garnett scored 14 points on just 5-of-20 shooting
but grabbed 22 rebounds to lead a strong defensive effort by the
Timberwolves. Memphis shot just 39 percent (29-of-75).
"Sam had a great game," Garnett said. "Usually, I'm the one
that sets the tone offensively, but I wasn't really sharp and he
was crisp. We milked him. We're feeling confident, even when
we're losing we're a confident team. That's the key to this
league, you have to be confident all the time."
"I told KG to do the little things and they will add up to big
things," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "He had seven
offensive rebounds and four blocked shots, he did a lot of
little things tonight."
The Timberwolves outrebounded the Grizzlies, 54-40.
, who has struggled since coming off the
injured list in late February, collected 12 points and 14
rebounds. Olowokandi also had a big follow shot to increase the
lead to 88-81 with 1:35 to play.
"The guy in our opinion that changed the game was Olowokandi,"
Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. "(He) had seven offensive
rebounds and that was really big. He played a great game."
scored 19 points to lead the Grizzlies in scoring
for the third straight contest. Memphis (49-27) leads Dallas by
one game for fifth place in the Western Conference.
"They got stops when they needed to get stops and we weren't
able to get good shots," Posey said. "They were able to execute.
That's just the experience they have late in the season."