Grizzlies 99, Timberwolves 98

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Memphis Grizzlies needed only 50 games this season to set a franchise record for wins.

Shane Battier’s second basket of the game, a 14-foot jumper with 2.9 seconds remaining, helped Memphis end the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 14-game home winning streak with a 99-98 victory Sunday.

Mark Madsen missed an open layup at the buzzer, allowing the Grizzlies to hang on for their franchise-record 29th win of the season. Minnesota lost at Target Center for the first time since Dec. 9.

On the winning shot, Battier took a pass from Jason Williams on the right wing, took two dribbles and launched his jumper over the shorter Sam Cassell.

“We’re finally a legitimate franchise,” Battier said. “For a while, people weren’t taking us seriously—fans, refs, everyone. It’s nice to get a little respect.”

James Posey tipped the Timberwolves’ inbounds pass from halfcourt out of bounds under the basket with 1.6 seconds remaining. On the final play, Madsen broke wide open, took an inbounds pass from Fred Hoiberg and tried to lay the ball in without using the glass, but it bounced off the rim as time expired.

“Freddy made the right play, because Mad Dog was clearly open,” teammate Kevin Garnett said. “He looked like he rushed it a little bit.”

Madsen wasn’t available for comment after the game, but looked dejected coming off the court as Garnett put his arm around him.

“If we do it again, in the same situation, he’ll make that shot,” Garnett said.

Sam Cassell had 34 points and 11 assists for Minnesota, including two free throws with 13.9 seconds remaining to give the Wolves a 98-97 lead.

Cassell, who earlier missed a free throw to end his streak of 71 in a row, made four in the final 1:01 as the Wolves rallied after trailing by as many as 16 in the first quarter.

Garnett added 30 points and 16 rebounds for Minnesota.

Pau Gasol scored 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting for the Grizzlies, who trailed by five with 2:08 remaining.

But Memphis scored the next six points, on two Mike Miller free throws and consecutive hook shots by Gasol, the second after Garnett was stripped of an inbounds pass by Earl Watson.

“I’ve tried to be more aggressive with my scoring,” Gasol said. “I’ve been a little beat up but I’m feeling better and I feel like I’m playing better.”

Cassell hit two free throws with 1:01 remaining to give the Wolves a 96-95 lead, but Miller’s long jumper with 24.9 seconds put Memphis back in front.

Memphis jumped out to a 30-14 lead early in the game. In their last 16 games, the Wolves are averaging only 20 points in the first quarter.

They committed seven turnovers and shot just 35 percent in the quarter Sunday.

“Falling behind by 14 or 16 points in the first half is a trend we’ve got to stop,” coach Flip Saunders said.

Cassell’s jumper with 8:29 left in the third quarter gave Minnesota its first lead, 55-54, and started a seesaw period that saw neither team lead by more than three points.

Hoiberg scored eight Minnesota points in a row in the fourth quarter, withtwo 3-pointers and a long jumper, to turn an 82-76 deficit into an 84-83 lead.

Notes

Injured Minnesota center Michael Olowokandi has been cleared to resume practice with the team and hopes to return after the All-Star break. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Dec. 12. … The Grizzlies are 5-29 all-time against Minnesota, including 2-15 at Target Center. … Cassell’s streak of consecutive free throws ended when he missed in the third quarter. The streak tied the sixth-longest in NBA history and was the second-longest in Wolves history, behind Micheal Williams’ NBA record of 97. … The Wolves sold out their second consecutive game, after drawing a capacity crowd Friday nightfor Cleveland and LeBron James.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Memphis
J. Williams J. Williams
5-13,  11 Pts
1 Rebs, 12 Assists
 Minnesota
K. Garnett K. Garnett
11-22,  30 Pts
16 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists