Regular Season Series (Game 3 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

Timberwolves 96

(24-25, 11-13 away)

Grizzlies 108

(28-21, 17-9 home)

Coverage: KSTC

7:00 PM ET, February 8, 2005

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 14 30 21 3196
MEM 29 34 27 18108

Top Performers

Min: K. Garnett 24 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

Mem: L. Wright 18 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Season-high 22 turnovers doom Minnesota

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Minnesota's misery shows no sign of ending.

The Timberwolves dropped below .500 for the first time since early last season, getting blown out early in a 108-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

"In this league, especially on the road, if you don't come to play, you are going to get blown out and that is what happened," Minnesota reserve Wally Szczerbiak said.

Lorenzen Wright had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead six Memphis players in double figures. It marked Wright's fourth consecutive double-double as Memphis won for the fourth time in five games. Stromile Swift matched Wright's 18 points.

Wright has been filling a void created by leading scorer Pau Gasol being on the injured list with a foot injury.

"I have a lot more responsibilities now that Pau's not in," Wright said. "I have to step up my game so we can win some games. I'm getting a few more touches, and I'm trying to convert on the few shots I get."

Memphis built the lead to 29 in the third period before a 9-0 Minnesota rally cut the lead to 98-86 with 5:22 to play. But the Timberwolves could get no closer, losing their sixth straight. Minnesota had won its previous 10 road games against the Grizzlies.

Minnesota had not been below .500 since the fifth game of the 2003-2004 season.

The Timberwolves' futility included a season-high 22 turnovers leading to 24 Memphis points, and no scoring from backcourt starters Sam Cassell and Trenton Hassell. Cassell was limited to seven minutes in the first quarter before his right hamstring tightened.

The turnovers negated a 53 percent shooting performance for the Timberwolves.

"It's very difficult to shoot the percentage we shot and get blown out," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "... We really turned the ball over way too much.

Memphis players said the defensive intensity that led to the turnovers comes from the more aggressive play preached by coach Mike Fratello.

"Collectively, we watch each other's back when we are out there," reserve forward Brian Cardinal said. "If somebody gambles or goes for a steal, we know somebody else is going to be behind us and take a charge or take on that man."

Jason Williams had 15 points and eight assists, while Shane Battier and Cardinal finished with 14 each. Dahntay Jones scored 12 for Memphis. It marked the fourth consecutive game Memphis has had at least six players in double figures.

Kevin Garnett scored 24 points, shooting 9-of-11, to lead Minnesota, while Szczerbiak scored 19 on 9-of-12 shooting. Latrell Sprewell scored 17, and Troy Hudson had 13 with eight assists. Garnett had seven rebounds, marking only the seventh game this season he did not record a double-double.

Memphis would lead by 20 in the first half before taking a 63-44 advantage at the break. The 63 points were only two short of the most allowed by Minnesota in a half this season.

"I'm surprised at the lack of energy to start the game," Saunders said. "We let them kind of maul us right from the beginning.

Memphis continued to score with ease in the third period, taking a 90-65 lead into the final period.

"Teams remember all the trash we talked last year, winning the West and having one of the best records in the league," Szczerbiak said. "Now, it's their chance to get payback on us, and we have to fight back."

Game notes

Memphis reserve C Jake Tsakalidis sat out the game with a neck sprain. ... Sprewell got a technical foul from official Bob Delaney with 9:34 left in the first quarter after Sprewell was called for walking. ...Garnett drew a technical foul at the half when he tossed the ball over his shoulder toward the Grizzlies leaving the floor. Jason Williams hit the free throw to open the second half. ...Grizzlies reserve G Earl Watson saw his first action after missing two games with a right shoulder sprain. Bonzi Wells also returned after a two-game absence with a left leg sprain.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 96 108
FGM-FGA 36-68 (.529) 41-82 (.500)
3PM-3PA 5-13 (.385) 9-21 (.429)
FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 17-27 (.630)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-41 15-33
Assists 25 22
Turnovers 22 10
Steals 6 11
Blocks 5 5
Fast Break Points 7 17
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (2/0) 24 (1/0)
Largest Lead 0 29

Top Performers

Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 24
Reb: 7
Ast: 4
Stl: 3
Blk: 2
Lorenzen Wright Wright
Points: 18
Reb: 12
Ast: 2
Stl: 3
Blk: 1