Grizzlies 105, Timberwolves 97, OT
“You’ll mind if I get my stuff out of the star’s way?” Miller said. “Can I set my sandals over here by the star?”
Gay also had a block of Ricky Davis’ jumper with just over a minute left to help Memphis snap a four-game losing streak. The Grizzlies pulled away by outscoring the Timberwolves 13-5 in overtime, and Gay kick-started the run with the first five points.
“I think we saw what Rudy Gay is capable of,” Memphis interim coach Tony Barone said. “He’s going to be a very good player. He hit big shots, had big blocks and got a little better defensively. We’re pleased with that.”
The Timberwolves lost for the fifth time in six games.
Six Memphis players finished in double figures. Miller scored 17, while Chucky Atkins added 15 points and six assists. Leading scorer Pau Gasol was held to 10 points on 2-of-13 shooting, but grabbed 17 rebounds, matching his season high.
Gay said having players like Miller and Gasol around has helped him adapt to his first year in the league.
“I can definitely feel it,” Gay said of the difference in the pro and college seasons. “This is a lot more games than I’m used to, but if you eat right and work out, you’ll be OK.”
Minnesota shot only six free throws, making all of them, indicating a lack of attacking the basket. That, combined with 24 turnovers, one short of a season high, offset the Timberwolves’ 50 percent shooting.
“We have total a disregard for the game,” Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. “We take shots that have a one-in-five chance. We try no-look passes to nobody. It doesn’t matter who we play. We turned the ball over. The Grizzlies made shots.”
The teams were tied at 92 after Miller scored on a drive with 32 seconds left, and remained deadlocked through regulation, despite Memphis having three shots at the basket in the closing seconds.
Minnesota pulled ahead in the third quarter behind 12 points from Blount. The Timberwolves extended the lead to nine in the early stages of the fourth.
The Grizzlies put together an 8-0 run near the four-minute mark of regulation to regain the lead, and the teams exchanged baskets until they were deadlocked at the end of the fourth quarter.
“We fell apart,” Davis said of the Timberwolves’ performance late in regulation and overtime. “Our shots were bad. It should have ended in regulation. We had the lead late in the game.”
Memphis carried a 46-43 lead into the half behind balanced scoring and a load of Minnesota turnovers. No Memphis player was in double figures, while Garnett had 10 points.
As it has in the last several games, Memphis got off to a poor start offensively, missing its first six shots. But as badly as Memphis was shooting, the Timberwolves were doing as poor a job handling the ball, committing nine turnovers in the quarter.
The Timberwolves had 16 turnovers in the half, leading to 16 Memphis points.
“Turnovers are turnovers,” Garnett said. “We have to own up and face them.”
Gasol was struggling on offense, hitting only one of his first nine shots through three quarters.
With Blount scoring 12 points, and Garnett and Davis adding six points apiece, the Timberwolves outscored Memphis 29-21 in the third quarter to take a 72-67 lead entering the fourth.
“I thought we had some momentum going,” Barone said of the stretch run. “Your defense gets better and more aggressive when you score. We came out and scored early in the overtime, and they struggled.”
Junior Harrington, a guard signed by the Grizzlies to a 10-day contract earlier in the day, dressed but did not play. Harrington was the last cut by Memphis in the preseason. … Memphis G Mike Miller entered the game averaging almost 42 minutes over the last five games, and Barone realizes Miller can’t continue at that level. “We’re killing him,” Barone said before the game. “We’ve got to get somebody else some minutes.” Miller played 50 minutes. … Garnett has 371 straight games in double figures. … Mark Madsen made a pair of baskets in the opening quarter, his first points in five games.