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Grizzlies drub Wolves

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, right, gets tangled up after a rebound with Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin, center, during the first quarter Monday at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. At left is Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley. USA TODAY Sports

By Phil Stukenborg

Sports Xchange

MEMPHIS — Guard Mike Conley scored 23 points, forward Zach Randolph added 17 and center Marc Gasol registered a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 109-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night.

The win was the 10th straight at home for the Grizzlies, who have won 16 of their past 18 at FedExForum. The Timberwolves (34-35) lost for the 16th time in their past 18 meetings against the Grizzlies (42-28).

Minnesota was led by forward Kevin Love’s 16 points. Center Gorgui Dieng finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds.

Memphis survived a scare late in the third quarter when Conley fell to the floor after apparently re-injuring his ankle. Conley, who missed seven games in early February after spraining his right ankle, returned to start the fourth quarter, however.

The Grizzlies increased an 18-point halftime lead to 24 points (77-53) midway through the third quarter after an 18-4 run.

Conley had nine points during that stretch, including a 3-pointer to cap it.

But the Timberwolves answered by scoring the final nine points of the third quarter to cut their deficit to 13 (81-68) entering the fourth.

Memphis put the game out of reach by opening the final quarter with a 10-0 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers from guard Mike Miller and Conley.

Taking advantage of a cold-shooting Timberwolves’ team, the Grizzlies built a 21-point lead in the first half and led 57-39 at the break.

Minnesota missed nine of its first 10 shots and went 5-of-24 (21 percent) in the opening quarter and 15-of-48 in the first half (31 percent).

The Grizzlies shot 44 percent in the first quarter to take a 30-15 advantage.

In the second quarter, the Grizzlies extended their lead to 21 points (39-18) on a 3-pointer by Miller before the Timberwolves rallied. A 13-2 run trimmed the Memphis lead to 45-35 midway through the quarter, but the Grizzlies recovered when the starters re-entered the lineup. Memphis closed the half on a 10-4 run.

Much like his teammates, Love struggled in the first half, going 4-for-12. Minnesota’s sluggish start was in stark contrast to Sunday’s game against Phoenix in which the Timberwolves scored 73 points in the first half.

Minnesota shot 38 percent for the game. Memphis shot 53 percent.