Grizzlies devour Timberwolves
MINNEAPOLIS — Memphis Forward Zach Randolph scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter — including a twisting shot from the paint with 2:27 left that put the Grizzlies up for good — in a 94-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at the Target Center.
In a matchup of two hot teams, the Grizzlies stayed that way. Guard Courtney Lee scored 16 points, Mike Conley had 12 points and guard Tayshaun Prince added 11, including a three-pointer with 59.6 seconds left that put the Grizzlies up by six.
Memphis (25-20) won for the fifth straight time and for the 10th time in 11 games.
Forward Kevin Love scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half, including 18 points in the third quarter, for the Timberwolves (23-23), who entered the game having won two straight and five of six.
Guard Kevin Martin added 14 points for the Timberwolves, who were playing their second game without injured center Nikola Pekovic. Forward Dante Cunningham and guard J.J. Barea each scored 10 points off the bench.
The Timberwolves, down 13 at halftime, rallied to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter and went up by three (83-80) after Love’s basket with 5:13 left.
But Memphis dominated down the stretch, finishing the game on a 13-7 run.
That ended a game with two distinctly different halves.
The first half was all Memphis. The Grizzlies spent the first quarter seemingly able to get any shot they wanted. The result was 22 points in the paint in a 30-22 quarter in which both center Marc Gasol and Lee had nine points and did not miss a shot.
That lead grew to 14 midway through the second quarter and was 13 at halftime, thanks to an ice-cold Timberwolves offense that had a season-low 37 points before intermission.
But things sure changed in the third quarter, in which Love dominated.
He made 7 of 9 shots from the field and 3 of 4 3-pointers for 18 points. He added seven rebounds and an assist as the Timberwolves came all the way back to take a 67-66 lead — their first of the game — on Love’s jumper with 12.8 seconds left. His only miss was a half-court attempt at the buzzer.
The Timberwolves finished the quarter on a 15-3 run and outscored the Grizzlies 30-16 in the quarter, 12 minutes that finally woke the crowd.
Notes: It was a homecoming for Memphis coach Dave Joerger, who grew up in Staples, Minn., not far from Minneapolis. It took him awhile to get back. A veteran of pro basketball’s minor leagues, Joerger got to the NBA as a Memphis assistant in 2007. Last summer, he was promoted to head coach after the Grizzlies and Lionel Hollins parted ways. “It’s certainly a dream come true to be able to coach here,” Joerger said. “I remember coming to games here, just the biggest deal in the world.” Joerger had between 40 and 50 family and friends in attendance, including his old high school coach. ... Wolves F Kevin Love (27) and Grizzlies F Zach Randolph (16) are first and fifth, respectively, in the league in games with 20 points and 10 rebounds. ... It might be difficult with C Nikola Pekovic out with an injury, but Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said he has to make sure not to play Love too many minutes. Love played a season-high 43:26 on Wednesday. ... Memphis G/F Tony Allen, who missed his 13th game with a wrist injury, took full part in shootaround and could return in a game or two.