Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Friday, November 26th
Game 2: Saturday, January 1st
Game 3: Tuesday, February 8th
Game 4: Friday, March 18th

Grizzlies 90

(5-8, 2-5 away)

Timberwolves 115

(7-5, 4-2 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, November 26, 2004

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 27 23 21 1990
    MIN 34 25 35 21115

    Top Performers

    Mem: M. Miller 19 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Min: K. Garnett 26 Pts, 15 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Minnesota snaps two-game skid

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves finally had some fun at the expense of a team going through a coaching change.

    Lionel Hollins lost his debut as interim coach of the Grizzlies, with Kevin Garnett getting 26 points and 15 rebounds and Latrell Sprewell adding 22 points to lead the Timberwolves over Memphis 115-90 Friday night.

    Ford: Can Anyone Replace Brown?
    Chad Ford
    Last week in Insider's story on coaches on the hot seat, we controversially included Hubie Brown's name on that list.

    What could Brown, a coaching legend and the most recent recipient of the coach of the year honor, have done to get mentioned in the same breath with Lenny Wilkens or Jeff Bzdelik?

    Regardless of what you've read in the national media, there was no rift between Brown and team president Jerry West. Unlike most of the coaches in the NBA, his job was his as long as he wanted it.

    His health is the problem. He is 71 years old. He is slowing down physically. The rough and tumble world of NBA coaching has worn him down considerably the last few years. While he remains as sharp as ever mentally, his body is tired.

    That pushed him to delegate more this year -- something that didn't always go over well with the players. Hubie had the ultimate respect of all of his players. His staff, however, didn't receive the same automatic deference.

    When Jason Williams snapped at Hubie's son, assistant coach Brendan Brown, for his play calling in the fourth quarter of a game at the start of the season, the first evidence of discord bubbled to the surface.

    Williams eventually apologized and Brown excused the whole incident to frustration, but the truth could be seen on the court. The Grizzlies weren't playing with the same purpose or cohesion as they did last season.

    Brown told Insider last year that he was coaching from day to day. The Grizzlies had signed him to a three-year deal (which expired at the end of this season) but his agreement with West was that he would take it one day at time.

    The Grizzlies reiterated just last week that they felt the team would always benefit from Brown's presence, no matter what. But Hubie felt he wasn't physically able to give it his all anymore. That was enough for Hubie to walk away.

    While Lionel Hollins is set to replace him on an interim basis, expect West to begin looking for a long-term replacement immediately. He still feels strongly that this team needs a veteran coach who can teach and lead with a firm hand. Now that Brown has stepped aside, that search can begin in earnest.

    But can anyone really replace Hubie? His decision to walk away will take away much of the hope that has been fostered in Memphis these past two seasons. If West, whose contract also expires at the end of the season, decides to join him this summer ... the new-look Grizzlies may have just been a one-hit wonder.

    For more analysis from ESPN's Chad Ford, sign up for ESPN Insider.

    "A lot of times teammates feed off the energy, and I think that was the case tonight," Sprewell said.

    "It seems like we haven't had fun in a while," he added. "It's been a difficult period trying to figure out whose going to play, but overall guys are pulling for each other."

    The Timberwolves had their highest scoring output of the season as well as a season-low nine turnovers and season-high 28 assists in snapping a two-game losing streak.

    Mike Miller scored 19 points for Memphis, which was playing its first game following the sudden resignation of Hubie Brown. The 71-year-old coach called it quits seven months after being selected Coach of the Year, citing the rigors of day-to-day life in the league and a health issue he described as non-catastrophic.

    "I thought our guys would be emotional and want to come out and play, but it's a tough situation for all involved," Hollins said.

    "It's always tough when you lose the heart of your team, but that's still no excuse," Miller said. "You got to go out there and perform."

    Eddie Griffin scored 15 points to lead four other Timberwolves in double figures.

    "One thing Flip (Saunders) said before the game was 'Let's have fun," said Mark Madsen, who started at center in place of the suspended Michael Olowokandi.

    "Sometimes you get away from the fundamentals and fun is one of them," Garnett said. "Tonight was fun. It was about communicating and it was cool."

    Pau Gasol, starting at center for Memphis after missing three games with a right ankle sprain, scored 17 points but had only one in the second half.

    The Timberwolves took control in the third quarter behind Garnett and Sprewell, who combined for 18 of 24 points as Minnesota opened an 83-62 lead with 4:53 left. Troy Hudson and Griffin took over from there, scoring Minnesota's next 11 points as the Wolves took a 94-71 lead into the fourth quarter.

    "I'm embarrassed about tonight," Hollins said. "I hope some of those guys are, and will come back and give a different effort tomorrow night."

    Minnesota led 34-27 after one quarter behind Sprewell's 10 points.

    The Wolves extended their lead at the start of the second quarter, using full-court pressure to create turnovers. Wally Szczerbiak scored seven points during an 18-7 run that made it 52-34 with 5:03 left.

    The Grizzlies got two straight 3-pointers from Miller to close to 59-50 by the half.

    Olowokandi sat out the second night of a two-game suspension following his arrest for refusing to leave an Indianapolis nightclub.

    Game notes

    Minnesota improved to 32-5 against the Grizzlies. ... The Wolves improved to 1-3 in the second game of back-to-backs this year. ... Hollins was 18-42 as head coach of the Grizzlies in 1999-2000. ... Grizzlies forward Stromile Swift did not dress for the second straight game with a scratched left cornea. ... Brian Cardinal sprained his right ankle in the third quarter and did not return.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 115
    FGM-FGA 33-88 (.375) 42-80 (.525)
    3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 4-10 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 19-23 (.826) 27-33 (.818)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-39 12-47
    Assists 19 28
    Turnovers 10 9
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 3 8
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 22 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Mike Miller Miller
    Points: 19
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 26
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 2