Timberwolves-Grizzlies Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies are hoping to pick up steam after posting much-needed wins last time out.

The Timberwolves, however, could have a hard time sustaining their momentum given their recent efforts in this series.

After a brief stop home, Minnesota heads back on the road Tuesday night looking to avoid a 10th loss in 11 meetings with Memphis and a sixth consecutive defeat at FedExForum.

The Timberwolves (24-26) entered Sunday having dropped seven of nine, including five of seven on their longest road swing in franchise history. With one game back at Target Center before another two-game trip, though, Minnesota got back on track Sunday with a 117-100 win over Denver.

Sitting a few games back of postseason position in the Western Conference, 11th-place Minnesota knows it needs to build on Sunday's win if it's going to climb back in the race.

"It was one we had to get before we go back on the road," said coach Rick Adelman, whose teams plays four of its next five in opposing arenas. "After (seven) games on that last trip ... we responded (Sunday). That's what we need to do the rest of the year.

"You see all these teams ahead of us. Teams get a nice margin when they go out and win three or four in a row. That's what we have to do."

Two days after scoring a franchise-best 51 points in a 149-140 double-overtime loss at Oklahoma City, Kevin Love posted 30 points and a season best-tying 21 rebounds for his NBA-leading 42nd double-double. Sunday also marked Love's seventh career 30-20 effort - the most among active players.

"I think we used to call him kind of a poor man's Larry Bird," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I think you can take 'poor man's' off that comparison now. His ability to rebound is incredible and his offensive tools and skills are growing."

Averaging 30.8 points and 13.9 boards this month, Love compiled 27 and 14 in a 90-86 loss to Memphis (26-21) on Jan. 4 before missing an 85-80 road loss Feb. 8 due to suspension. The Grizzlies have won six in a row in this series and five straight at home by an average of 15.4 points.

After losing three in a row and six of eight, Memphis concluded a four-game trek Sunday with a 102-96 win over the Lakers. Seven players scored in double figures for the Grizzlies, who shot 51.2 percent - their second-highest mark over the last two months.

"We were pretty fed up with the way we've been playing the last (several) games," said O.J. Mayo, averaging 19.7 points on 50.6 percent shooting in six career home meetings with Minnesota. "We haven't been playing our best basketball and we feel like we're a much better team than we have been putting out there. It's a step out of the mud. It's time to get rolling."

Zach Randolph recorded his first double-double in six games since missing 2 1/2 months with a knee injury, finishing with 10 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. The Grizzlies are just 3-7 with Randolph this season.

While Michael Beasley (toe) returned from a one-game absence Sunday, Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) was sidelined for the fourth time in five games and won't be available until at least Friday. J.J. Barea's status is uncertain after sitting out against the Nuggets with a right thigh contusion.

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