Gasol, Grizzlies Top Shorthanded Wolves
Memphis 92, Minnesota 76
MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 11 (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol and Chucky Atkins wasted little time sending the Minnesota Timberwolves packing.
Gasol collected 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and Atkins scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half as the Memphis Grizzlies breezed to a 92-76 victory over the Timberwolves, who dropped their 14th straight road game.
"We worked hard and played good first-half defense," said Grizzlies forward Shane Battier, who had eight points and eight rebounds. "We appreciate how hard you have to work to get to the playoffs, and now we're in a position where we can get into the postseason and hopefully make some noise."
Minnesota held a 12-10 edge with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter before Atkins helped give Memphis the lead for good, draining three 3-pointers during a 15-1 surge to close the period.
"Teams (like Minnesota) that aren't playing for anything are always dangerous because they play loose," said Atkins, who made 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. "You always want to jump on teams like that and not give them a chance. We knew we had to put the heat on them quick."
The Grizzlies built a 44-29 bulge at the start of the third quarter and pushed their lead to 20 points when Gasol found a cutting Jake Tsakalidis, who scored 12 points, for a jam with just under eight minutes remaining.
Bobby Jackson scored 16 points and Mike Miller added 10 and three steals off the bench for Memphis, which shot 45 percent (32-of-71) from the field and made 10-of-23 3-pointers.
Justin Reed had 14 points and eight rebounds and rookie Rashad McCants added 11 for the Timberwolves, who shot 41 percent (31-of-75) and fell to 0-5 all-time at FedExForum.
"It's very difficult knowing your guys are young players coming in against a veteran team," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "This shows us what it's like to play against a playoff-ready team."
Minnesota played without its two leader scorers, Kevin Garnett (knee) and Ricky Davis (groin), for the second consecutive contest.