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Grizzlies-Timberwolves Preview

AP - Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost their first three games by a combined nine points, leaving them confident it was only a matter of time before they got over the hump.

After two straight dominating victories, they may have found their groove.

Minnesota seeks its first three-game winning streak in nearly two years when it hosts the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

The Timberwolves (2-3) began the season with one of the league's toughest early schedules, but they've quickly discovered they can compete with the best the NBA has to offer.

They lost by four points to Oklahoma City on Dec. 26, fell at Milwaukee by three the next night in their only road game thus far, then lost 103-101 to Miami on a last-second bucket Dec. 30 to fall to 0-3.

Minnesota responded with a resounding 99-82 thumping of defending champion Dallas on Sunday before Monday's 106-96 victory over San Antonio.

Kevin Love had game highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolves, who are seeking to win three straight for the first time since a four-game run Jan. 29-Feb. 6, 2010. They conclude their season-high five-game homestand Friday versus Cleveland.

"You're not satisfied with last night, you build off of it,'' Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "That's what I just told them. We've got two more home games on this homestand and we want to build off it.''

All five starters scored in double figures in the win over the Spurs, as Michael Beasley and Luke Ridnour finished with 19 points apiece.

"There's going to be so many games this year, if you can try to find a way to get on a run at home, it's going to help you in the long run,'' Ridnour said. "To be able to win two in a row against Dallas and San Antonio, for this team, is huge.''

Continuing that run may be difficult against Memphis, which has won seven of the last eight meetings in the series, including the last four by an average of 14.8 points.

Playing without Zach Randolph (bruised right knee), the Grizzlies (2-3) beat Sacramento 113-96 at home Tuesday, two nights after a 104-64 loss at Chicago coach Lionel Hollins called "embarrassing and humiliating."

Mike Conley returned after missing two games with an ankle injury to score 14 points while adding seven assists.

"We had to get it out of our mind,'' Conley said of the loss to the Bulls. "That was a terrible way to lose. We just didn't put forth the effort. But I think we did a good job of putting it in the back of our mind. New day, new game.''

Rudy Gay scored a game-high 23 points and Sam Young scored 20 off the bench to help compensate for the absence of Randolph, who remains day to day after suffering his injury against the Bulls. O.J. Mayo, whom the Wolves traded in the deal that brought them Love after the 2008 draft, added 16 points.

This contest opens a three-game road trip for Memphis.

"It feels good to start (the upcoming) road trip like that," Gay said. "We started out with some momentum going into it."

Gay (shoulder) and Love (strained groin) each missed the most recent meeting between these teams April 2, when Memphis rolled to a 106-89 home victory.

Love has been held in check in eight career games against the Grizzlies, averaging 13.4 points and 9.4 rebounds - his lowest rebounding mark against any Western Conference opponent.

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