Grizzlies End 3-Game Skid, Beat Timberwolves 85-80
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Rudy Gay had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Quincy Pondexter added a career-high 17 points as the Memphis Grizzlies snapped a three-game losing streak with a 85-80 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Marc Gasol and Dante Cunningham scored 12 apiece, and O. J. Mayo finished with 10 for Memphis despite connecting on only three of 11 shots as the Grizzlies shot just 37 percent overall.
J.J. Barea led the Timberwolves with 17 points and six assists, while Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley had 13 points each. Williams also grabbed nine rebounds. Nikola Pekovic had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Minnesota’s starting backcourt combination of Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour were a combined 2 of 14 from the field as the Timberwolves shot 39 percent and had a season low for points. They played their second game without leading scorer Kevin Love, who completed his league-ordered two-game suspension for stepping on Houston’s Luis Scola.
Memphis extended its lead in the final minutes of the first half to carry a 44-34 advantage into the break. Gay and Pondexter, starting in the place of the injured Tony Allen, had 11 points apiece to lead Memphis.
The Timberwolves had no players in double figures — Williams led Minnesota with nine — and were stymied by shooting 29 percent. The shooting percentage kept Memphis from paying the price for 10 turnovers.
Ridnour missed all seven of his shots in the half, while Rubio was 1 for 5 with no assists. Rubio, who entered the game averaging 9.1 assists, ended the night with only one assist.
Meanwhile, Memphis was getting to the basket as 30 of its 44 first-half points came in the paint despite Gasol playing only nine minutes after collecting three fouls.
Memphis was able to build its halftime lead by closing the second quarter on an 8-2 spurt as the Timberwolves didn’t record a field goal over the final 4:40 of the half.
Memphis extended the lead by scoring the first six points of the second half, but Pekovic started scoring inside and the Grizzlies began misfiring. Back-to-back baskets by Wesley Johnson pulled Minnesota within 56-50 with 4 minutes left in the third.
The Grizzlies would later answer with eight unanswered points, and carry a 66-54 lead into the fourth. They got their largest lead of the game by scoring the first two baskets of the fourth for a 71-54 lead.
Notes: Love, as he did in Tuesday night’s win over Sacramento, spent his time away from the arena on Twitter providing occasional color commentary. … Even with the loss, the Wolves remained only one of four Western Conference teams with a winning road record. … Minnesota is 6-5 on road. … Allen missed his third straight game for Memphis with a sore left hip and knee. … Minnesota’s 34 first-half points were a season low for a half. … Grizzlies F Marreese Speights finished the night with 15 rebounds, matching his career high.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)