“You’ve got to find that energy,” Snyder said, adding that professionals need to set an example for younger players. “You’ve got to be able to hold true to some of the things you say to them. Do the right thing and play as hard as you can and leave it all out there.”
Ryan Gomes was the third Minnesota player with a double-double, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Rashad McCants led Minnesota with 23 points and Randy Foye scored 16. Snyder’s points, on 9-of-11 shooting, were a season high and the rebounding total was the best of his career.
“I think Kirk was huge for us,” Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. “He got out in the lanes and (Foye) threw the ball ahead. We scored quickly at the start of the game, and it kind of gets you going then.”
With Seattle owning the only worse record than these teams in the Western Conference, this game was mostly about lottery positioning.
The Timberwolves built the lead to as many as 18 early in the game and really were never threatened after a third-quarter rally rebuilt the lead to double digits. Part of the reason was Minnesota’s dominance in the middle, as the Timberwolves outrebounded Memphis 62-45 and held a 60-44 advantage in the paint.
The 62 rebounds were a season high for the Timberwolves and the most by a Memphis opponent this season.
“We had some guys out, but I thought the guys who took their place played hard,” Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. “(The Timberwolves) were just better than us. They shot the ball well. They rebounded and dominated us inside physically.”
Memphis, playing its last home game of the season, went deep into its bench early. In the first quarter, little-used players such as Kwame Brown, Brian Cardinal and Casey Jacobsen already had made an appearance, and center Andre Brown started his first game of the season.
The result: The Timberwolves shot 63 percent and built a 43-25 lead, the most first-quarter points ever by Minnesota. The Wolves were getting to the basket because Memphis players weren’t getting in the way.
“We were moving the ball well,” Foye said. “It’s fun to play like that. You push the ball up, swing, swing, dunk. That’s so fun, man. I love playing like that.”
Memphis whittled away at the lead and trailed 62-55 at halftime.
The Timberwolves regained the double-digit lead after halftime and held it through most of the third before taking an 89-77 advantage into the fourth.
“They had a lot of big guys down low,” Conley said. “Al Jefferson’s a great player, and he did a great job of getting to the basket and putting his misses back in.”
Snyder said the Timberwolves, who won 102-101 at Orlando on Friday night, now need to build on the confidence of back-to-back road wins.
“We have a couple of games left, and we’re young,” Snyder said. “Guys are going to probably pick up a basketball as soon as we stop playing anyway, so leave it all out there. Go with reckless abandonment and see what you can get out of it. See if you can win some games.”
Before the game, three people were injured when a section of the FedExForum stands collapsed. Fans were standing at the rail of the section leaning over asking for autographs from Memphis players as they left the floor following their pregame shooting routines. One man was taken out on a stretcher and medical personnel was attending to at least two others. All three went to the hospital but were conscious and alert. … Memphis G Mike Miller missed his second straight game with back spasms. … Andre Brown’s start was his first in 69 career games. His previous rebounding mark was set Friday night with 11 at Miami, and his 18 rebounds Saturday night matched the Memphis high for a game this season. … Jefferson’s double-double was his 54th of the season, second in the league to Dwight Howard’s 68.