Regular Season Series (Game 2 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 104

(15-17, 6-10 away)

Timberwolves 95

(16-12, 8-4 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, January 1, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 23 27 31 23104
    MIN 34 23 19 1995

    Top Performers

    Memphis: P. Gasol 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 30 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Minnesota drops four of five

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Memphis coach Mike Fratello has used a number of rotations since taking over the Grizzlies.

    The Pau Gasol-Earl Watson combination worked very well in a comeback victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. Gasol scored 23 points and Watson added 20 to lead Memphis to a 104-95 victory.

    The pair made 16 of 20 shots.

    "We're just trying to find a group out there that's working together, executing and playing at a high level," Gasol said. "We're all adjusting to a new system and now we're feeling more comfortable and understanding everything better."

    Watson shot 7-for-10 -- 5-for-5 -- from 3-point range for Memphis, which trailed by 15 points in the first half. Fellow reserve Bonzi Wells added 18 points as Memphis won its third straight and for the sixth time in eight games.

    "Earl's gotten a chance to ride minutes and he's doing a good job of riding them," said Fratello, 9-6 since taking over for Hubie Brown.

    "I was just out there playing ball," Watson said. "My thing is that I have to get comfortable."

    Kevin Garnett had 30 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost four of five. Wally Szczerbiak scored 22 points, Latrell Sprewell added 17, and Sam Cassell had 10 assists but only four points.

    The Wolves kept their locker room closed longer than usual after the game, and coach Flip Saunders acknowledged that the team is struggling.

    "They feel bad," Saunders said. "They're not taking this lightly."

    "It's easy to stay together when things are great," Garnett said. "When things are down and you go through a little adversity, you start to show your true colors.

    "The thing about this team is that we're all real with each other and feel like we're brothers."

    The Grizzlies led 81-76 to start the fourth and were still ahead by five with 3:20 left when Watson pushed the advantage to 98-90 with his third 3-pointer of the quarter. Minnesota scored four straight points before Mike Miller hit a 3-pointer to make it 101-94 with 1:39 remaining.

    The Wolves didn't get closer than six the rest of the way.

    Minnesota led 76-68 with 3:12 left in the third quarter when Garnett picked up his fourth foul. The Grizzlies took advantage, scoring 13 straight points to go ahead for the first time. They carried a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.

    Gasol led Memphis' comeback, scoring 16 points in the third quarter, and the Grizzlies capitalized on seven Minnesota turnovers.

    "I got into a rhythm and felt like I had to do it at one point," Gasol said.

    "We had a couple mental lapses in that third quarter and let them back in the game," Szczerbiak said. "We'll work our way out of this with hard work."

    Garnett got the Wolves off to a good start, scoring 12 of their first 22 points. Minnesota led 34-23 after the first quarter.

    The lead grew to 44-32 with 7:30 left in the second when Memphis made a run. Shane Battier started the spurt with a free throw and a field goal, and finished it with a 3-pointer that brought the Grizzlies within 49-47 with 2:33 left.

    But the Wolves closed the half strong, and Sprewell's 3-pointer at the buzzer made it 57-50.

    Memphis center Stromile Swift missed the game due to neck spasms. Minnesota center Michael Olowokandi didn't play after bruising his right knee Wednesday at New York.

    Troy Hudson scored nine points in 17 minutes. The Wolves' backup point guard was kept out of the previous game following criticism from Saunders and comments his agent made about a trade.

    Game notes

    Minnesota had won four straight at home by an average of 20 points. ... Sprewell made a layup with 2:02 left in the first quarter to go over 16,000 points. His jumper with 10:31 left in the third moved Sprewell past Derek Harper for 71st on the career scoring list. ... Memphis F Brian Cardinal was activated from the injured list and scored four points, but he got hit in the shoulder in the second half and was hurting after the game. The team says he and Swift are day-to-day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 104 95
    FGM-FGA 39-73 (.534) 37-73 (.507)
    3PM-3PA 10-24 (.417) 5-16 (.313)
    FTM-FTA 16-24 (.667) 16-21 (.762)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-31 8-32
    Assists 26 28
    Turnovers 15 17
    Steals 9 8
    Blocks 8 4
    Fast Break Points 8 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 11 15

    Top Performers

    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 23
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 30
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1