Minnesota (17-16) at Memphis (9-27)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Fri Jan 12, 2007
  • TV: KSTC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Interim coach Tony Barone has Memphis’ offense in high gear.

The Grizzlies will look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season on Friday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Memphis (9-27) owns the worst record in the league, but is 3-3 since Barone took over for the fired Mike Fratello. The Grizzlies are averaging 117.7 points over their last six games and have scored at least 109 in five of them after reaching triple digits just six times under Fratello.

Memphis is coming off Tuesday’s 128-118 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, having set a franchise record for points in a quarter with 46 in the third.

Pau Gasol had 25 points and 13 rebounds, and Mike Miller scored 14 of his 25 points in the third for the Grizzlies, who matched a team record with 39 fast-break points.

“We got out there and we ran and executed and ran the offense,” Miller said. “That’s the whole key. We weren’t just doing our freelance, we were actually executing an offense even though it didn’t look like it.”

Miller has scored at least 24 points in five of six games since Barone took over, and point guard Damon Stoudamire has averaged 16.0 points in the last four — nearly double his season average.

Seven Memphis players scored in double figures Tuesday.

“It’s going to take a while, nothing comes overnight,” guard Chucky Atkins told the team’s official Web site. “We’re in a whole different system and in order to do what we’re doing you have to trust each other.”

The Grizzlies also have to find a way to shore up their defense. They have given up exactly the same number of points they have scored (706) since Barone took over.

Memphis switched to a zone defense at times against the Lakers to help get its running game going.

“I don’t know that we played a great zone, but what it allowed us to do was get the ball out and run,” Barone said. “I was absolutely thrilled with the tempo.”

If recent history is any indication, the Grizzlies have a good shot at their first back-to-back wins of the season. Memphis has won six of the last seven meetings with the Timberwolves, including four straight at home.

Minnesota (17-16) had a four-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, falling 92-91 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 17 rebounds, but missed a potential game-winner just before the buzzer.

“I got the shot I wanted. That’s all you can ask for,” said Garnett, who has a double-double in seven straight games.

The Timberwolves had won three straight overtime games heading into Wednesday’s contest. Their four-game winning streak matched their longest of the season.

Ricky Davis had 24 points against the Clippers, and Mark Blount added 21, continuing his torrid scoring pace. In five games since the start of the new year, Blount has averaged 21.4 points—nearly triple his career average.

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Friday, Jan 12