NBA Game Summary - Memphis at Minnesota
(Saturday, January 1st)
Final Score: Memphis 104, Minnesota 95
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol scored 23 points, including 16 during a decisive third quarter, as the Memphis Grizzlies earned a rare road victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-95.
Earl Watson chipped in 20 points and dished out eight assists for the Grizzlies, who rallied from a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to improve to 3-17 all-time at the Target Center. Bonzi Wells added 18 points and eight rebounds in the team's third straight win.
Kevin Garnett poured in a game-high 30 points with 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, losers in four of their last five contests. Wally Szczerbiak shot 10-of-14 from the field for 22 points while Latrell Sprewell added 17.
Memphis trailed by 12 less than two minutes into the third quarter, but outscored Minnesota 29-12 the rest of the frame to forge ahead. Jason Williams ignited the offense with back-to-back drives to the hoop before Gasol made his presence felt with 16 points during the surge, including consecutive layups in the final minute that staked Memphis to a 79-76 lead.
"I got into a rhythm and felt like I had to do it," Gasol said.
Watson's lay-in beat the third-period buzzer to make it a five-point game heading into the fourth. Watson buried a pair of threes early in the final stanza to pad the cushion to 91-82 with 8:24 remaining.
"I was just out there playing ball," said Watson, who was perfect in five three-point attempts.
A reverse by Brian Cardinal less than a minute later handed Memphis its biggest advantage of the night at 93-82, but the Grizzlies nearly gave the game away down the stretch.
Garnett converted a pair of free throws to pull the T-Wolves within five before another three-pointer by Watson extended the difference back to eight.
Watson turned the ball over and missed a jumper, leading to four consecutive Minnesota points that trimmed the deficit to 98-94 with two minutes to go.
Mike Miller answered with a shot from long range at the other end to take the wind out the Wolves' comeback sails.
Minnesota scored just one more point the rest of the way as Memphis made its free throws in the closing stages to cement the victory.
Garnett netted 12 points in the opening quarter and was ahead 34-23 after one. A three-point play by Wells late in the second drew the Grizzlies within one at 51-50 before the T-Wolves tallied a pair a three-pointers to take a 57-50 lead at the half.
Memphis dominated inside, holding a 44-24 points-in-the-paint advantage.
Williams finished with eight points ...Gasol blocked three shots while Watson had a game-high six turnovers...Minnesota point guard Sam Cassell led all players with 10 assists...Cardinal, on the injured list since November 30 with a sprained right ankle, was activated prior to the game...Forward Ryan Humphrey, who also has an ankle sprain, was placed on the IL...Memphis also sat center Stromile Swift because of neck spasms.
01/01 23:51:58 ET