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.
"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
Eddie Griffin scored 15 points to lead four other Timberwolves
in double figures.
"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
Minnesota led 34-27 after one quarter behind Sprewell's 10
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
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