Grizzlies Hold Off Wolves Late, 94-90
Grizzlies Hold Off Wolves Late, 94-90
The first time the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies met, the Grizzlies were without big man Marc Gasol. The Wolves benefited from that and came away with a win.
The tables turned on Friday night. The Wolves were without Nikola Pekovic, and Gasol was available for the Grizzlies. It wasn’t Gasol, though, that was the difference for the Grizzlies. It was fellow big man Zach Randolph.
Wolves vs. Grizzlies
Pekovic was missed early. In the opening quarter, led by Gasol, the Grizzlies scored 22 points in the paint, compared to Minnesota’s mark of 10. That ignited a hot first quarter for the Grizzlies as they took a 30-22 lead at the end of it, shooting a scorching 63.6 percent. Gasol led the way with nine points. Courtney Lee pitched in with nine as well. The Wolves, who shot 50 percent in the quarter, were kept in the game by Kevin Martin. Martin was 5-of-8 in the quarter.
The second quarter was frustrating for the team’s second unit. The bench was outscored 12-6 in the first 5:45 minutes. Adelman then entered back in Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Martin. That group had a bit more success, outscoring the Grizzlies by one during the final 6:15, but the Wolves still trailed 50-37 at half. Lee led Memphis is scoring with 12 points, while Gasol and Zach Randolph had nine each. Martin was held scoreless in the quarter. Love entered half with six points and five rebounds but was just 3-of-7 from the field.
To say Love owned the third quarter would be an understatement. The big man helped the Wolves erase that 13-point deficit by scoring 18 points in the quarter, hauling in seven rebounds and making two 3-pointers. In fact, Love outscored the Grizzlies 18-16 in the quarter. That along with two giant dunks from center Ronny Turiaf helped the Wolves take a 67-66 lead going into the fourth quarter. The fans at the Target Center took notice and as B-Wright would say, “the noise was working.”
“Kevin (Love), he got going in the second half, basically, because we had better movement,” said Wolves head coach Rick Adelman. “We weren’t forcing the issue, we kept going against the grain the whole first half.”
The fourth quarter went back and forth after J.J. Barea hit back-to-back 3-pointer to give the Wolves a 77-76 lead with 7:30 left in the game. The Grizzlies battled back and led 88-85 with 59.6 seconds left. That’s when wingman Tayshaun Prince nailed a corner 3-pointer to put the Grizzlies up six, ultimately putting a dagger in the Wolves.
Love led all scorers with 28 points to go with 16 rebounds. Martin added 14. No other starter for the Wolves scored more than seven points. The bench duo of Barea and Dante Cunningham scored 12 points each. The Wolves got to the free-throw just seven times in the loss.
“We are disappointed, you know,” Barea said. “It’s a loss, so we’re disappointed. It doesn’t matter that we finished long, it’s still a loss. We’ve got to come out tomorrow and go from the get-go.”
Randolph led Memphis with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Lee scored 15. Mike Conley, who exited the game with an ankle injury in the fourth, scored 12 points but was just 4-of-14 from the field. Prince finished with 11 points.
With the loss, the Wolves fall to 23-23.
Leader of the Pack: Kevin Love
Without Love in the second half, there’s almost a 100 percent chance that this recap would be describing a Memphis blowout. Love was the definition of clutch in the second half and he ended up 28 points, 16 rebounds, two assists while shooting 12-of-20 from the field and 3-of-7 from the 3-point line.
Highlight of the Night
Rookie center Gorgui Dieng showed fans why he has been hailed as a rim protector in the second quarter. With 8:01 left in the second quarter, Dieng stuffed Ed Davis as he was going for a dunk. It was a monster block and Dieng received a monster round of applause from the fans. Welcome to the league, rookie. Less than a minute later, Dieng blocked Davis again… You’d think a guy would learn.
The Numbers Game
Grizzlies 94, Wolves 90
“We came out flat in the first quarter. They were doing whatever they wanted with us. We came out in the second (half) and we played our ball, we did a really good job and had bad luck at the end.” -- Wolves guard J.J. Barea on overcoming the first half deficit.
The Wolves hit the road and will play at Atlanta tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Philips Arena. The Wolves and Hawks game will be aired on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com