MEMPHIS, Tenn.(AP) Randy Foye assured the Minnesota Timberwolves would achieve their longest winning streak in two years.
Foye scored 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, and the Timberwolves weathered a late rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-87 Tuesday night.
Following his basket, Foye blocked O.J. Mayo's shot on the next Memphis possession, leading to a fast-break basket by Ryan Gomes, and the Timberwolves secured their third straight win - the first time they've won three in a row since January 2007.
"It was defense, rebounding and communicating,'' Foye said of pulling away after the Grizzlies pulled even at 87. "We just had to clamp down on defense.''
Al Jefferson added 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Minnesota. Craig Smith had 15 points, Gomes 14 and Sebastian Telfair finished with 10 points and nine assists.
Hakim Warrick scored 22 points, and Mayo added 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Memphis. Marc Gasol had 13 points and Rudy Gay 12 as Memphis shot 42 percent, including 2-of-13 outside the arc (15 percent).
Memphis erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth but never led.
"We spend so much energy fighting back to get in the game,'' Warrick said. " (Minnesota) did a really good job of executing. It seemed like they got every loose ball, and they just really hustled.''
The Timberwolves led by 10 with 5:26 remaining after Foye, who had 10 points in the fourth, hit a 3-pointer. But the Grizzlies used a 12-2 run to tie the game at 87 with 1:30 left on a three-point play by Gasol.
The Timberwolves then scored the final seven points, five by Foye.
"Foye hit a huge 3, and then his block on O.J. was ridiculous,'' Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "He just absolutely skyrocketed it out of there, and it was a great block.''
The Wolves got off to a good start, hitting 61 percent in the opening quarter for an early lead. Outside of Gomes, who missed four of his five shots, the Timberwolves starters were a combined 8-of-11 from the field in the first.
Memphis, which has continuously suffered poor first quarters in their losses, managed 40 percent from the field as Minnesota led by 12.
"We played with low energy,'' Memphis guard Kyle Lowry said. "We just couldn't, I guess, find our team rhythm.
"We started the game off slow, and I think we just never got into a rhythm.''
Minnesota got a bit of a scare when guard Mike Miller left the floor limping with 7:40 left in the second period after tweaking his right ankle, the same ankle that forced him to miss five games recently. He returned in the second half.
The Timberwolves took a 45-39 lead into the locker room after poor second-quarter shooting from both teams. Mayo hit only three of his 11 shots and finished the night shooting 7-of-18.
Jefferson helped the Timberwolves maintain their lead with 11 points in the third quarter before heading to the bench for the final 3:20 when he picked up his third foul.
"We never really got Big Al established the way we wanted to in there,'' McHale said, "but yet we were able to withstand that with five guys in double figures.''
The other downside for Minnesota was getting very little production from its bench - fourth in the league with 34.3 points per game.
After three periods, the Minnesota reserves had managed only seven points - four from Kevin Love and a 3-pointer from Brian Cardinal. The shooting didn't get much better overall and both teams committed a half dozen turnovers in the third.
Minnesota still managed to keep the lead, 72-68 entering the fourth.
"It was a very inconsistent effort as a result of a very inconsistent performance,'' Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We got off to a poor start. We were just scratching and clawing all the way back. They just did a better job of executing.''
Notes: The game was a homecoming for Miller and Cardinal, who along with Love, were part of the draft night trade that brought Mayo to the Grizzlies. Miller played five-plus seasons with the Grizzlies and is the team's career 3-point leader. Cardinal was limited because of injuries during his four years in Memphis, but holds the team record for highest career free throw percentage at 84.6 percent. Additionally, Timberwolves F Rodney Carney played at the University of Memphis. Grizzlies G Steve Francis, who was obtained by Memphis in a Dec. 24 trade with Houston and arrived in town over the weekend, was on the inactive list for the second straight game. Warrick recorded his ninth straight game in double figures. The Grizzlies are the first NBA team this season to lose two games to the Timberwolves. Minnesota defeated Memphis 108-98 in overtime on Dec. 29. The Grizzlies were expected to waive F Darius Miles after the game. Miles, who was trying to make a comeback after a two-year absence from microfracture knee surgery, played 7 minutes against the Timberwolves without scoring. He had two rebounds and two blocks. Miles, who was cut by the Boston Celtics in the preseason, signed with Memphis on Dec. 13. He was required to serve a 10-game suspension after his signing for violating of the leagues drug policy.