Grizzlies Build Early Lead, Top T-Wolves 109-92
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley had 23 points and six assists, Marc Gasol added 14 and 12 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies built an early lead and easily dispatched the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves 109-92 on Monday night.
Zach Randolph finished with 17 points for Memphis, while Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis added 12 points apiece. Mike Miller scored 11 as Memphis won its 10th straight home game.
Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 16 points, but shot 6-of-18 from the field, part of Minnesota shooting 38 percent for the game. Corey Brewer had 15 points and Kevin Martin finished with 13. Gorgui Dieng, in the starting lineup because of injuries on Minnesota’s front line, finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds.
The victory left Memphis in the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff race, a half-game ahead of Dallas and Phoenix.
The Timberwolves continued to deal with injuries as centers Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf sat out with injuries, along with backup point guard J.J. Barea.
With the absences, Memphis dominated the inside and outscored Minnesota in the paint 66-42 and held a 54-42 advantage on the boards.
Minnesota, which blew a 22-point lead in a 127-120 loss to Phoenix on Sunday night looked like a team struggling to get its energy.
The first quarter was a horrid shooting exhibition. The teams combined to miss the game’s first nine shots, and Memphis shot only 44.4 percent in the quarter, which was overly accurate compared to Minnesota starting 3-of-16 before rallying to 5-of-24 (20.8 percent for the quarter).
Memphis pushed the first-half lead to as many as 21.
Minnesota finally got going midway through the second period with a 17-6 run. That only got them within 10, however, and Memphis closed the half on a 12-4 rally for a 57-39 lead at the break.
Prince and Randolph had 10 each for Memphis, while Love led Minnesota with 11, but was 4-of-12 from the field.
Memphis extended the lead to 24 in the third quarter and appeared to be in control. But Minnesota closed the period on a 15-4 run, including the final nine to cut the advantage to 81-68 entering the fourth.
Memphis opened the final period with 10 straight points, capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Miller and Conley, and Memphis’ lead was at 91-68.
NOTES: Randolph hit a 3-pointer from the left corner in the third quarter. He was 0-for-16 from outside the arc for the season. … Memphis has not lost at home since dropping a decision to Dallas on Feb. 5. … The victory assured Memphis of its fourth straight winning season. … Memphis G Tony Allen missed the game with a stomach bug.
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