MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The new guys are making the Memphis Grizzlies look pretty good.
Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points, hitting all eight of his shots from the field, and the Memphis Grizzlies pulled away in the second quarter before coasting to a 105-88 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.
“I wasn’t. I missed a free throw,” Prince said with a small smile when asked about his perfection, which matched a franchise record for field goals made in a game without a miss.
Austin Daye, who along with Prince was obtained from Detroit in the three-team trade that sent leading scorer Rudy Gay to Toronto on Jan. 30, was one of three Grizzlies to score 16 points. He was 6 of 9 from the field, including 2 of 4 outside the arc. Ed Davis, who came from Toronto in the swap, was 2 of 3, making the newcomers a combined 16 of 20 in the game for 38 total points.
“Nothing’s really changed,” Daye said of his recent shooting success. “I’m just playing more. When you are out there for 3- or 4-minute spurts it’s hard to hit a lot of shots.
“It’s difficult at times to really find a rhythm out there when you are not playing a lot of minutes or straight minutes. I don’t think Michael Jordan can go out there and play 3 minutes and have 40.”
Mike Conley and Zach Randolph each finished with 16 points. Conley also handed out eight assists, while Randolph grabbed eight rebounds to help the Grizzlies win their second straight. Marc Gasol added nine points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Luke Ridnour and Ricky Rubio led the Timberwolves with 17 points apiece, and both finished with four assists. Mickael Gelabale scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Alexey Shved had 10 points and nine assists for Minnesota.
Rubio’s 17 were one short of his season high.
The loss continues a tailspin for the Timberwolves, who have lost 15 of their last 17 — including eight straight on the road.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball,” said Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham, who finished with nine points and five rebounds in his return to Memphis where he played last season. “We let them get out in the open court. That is tough to get back on a team that is so aggressive. They took advantage of it, and it was hard for us to get back in the game.”
Memphis outscored the injury-depleted Timberwolves 50-32 in the paint, and had a 20-4 advantage in fast-break points. The Grizzlies, as they did in Friday’s win over Golden State, did a good job in spreading the ball, recording a season-high 30 assists on 41 field goals.
“The ball movement is getting contagious,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “Everybody is moving the ball. It’s nice; giving goals to Zach (Randolph), guys cutting. The whole team is just looking to make the extra pass and the extra play.”
The fast-break difference was particularly troubling for the Timberwolves, who could never get anything going in transition and were hampered by 20 turnovers.
“We like to play in the fast break,” Rubio said, “but (the Grizzlies) get back on the defense pretty good, and that is why they are a good team. They are a hard team to beat. They didn’t let us get any easy baskets.”
There were six ties and six lead changes in the game, but all of those were in the first half. Memphis has held opponents under 100 in all 28 home games so far, the longest such streak to start a season in the NBA since the shot-clock era began.
Memphis matched its biggest lead at 78-57 early in the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves would put together nine unanswered points to pull within 11 near the 7-minute mark, but they could get no closer the rest of the way.
By that point, Prince had made his eight shots, and Hollins hesitated to put him back in so he wouldn’t ruin the perfect shooting night.
“I’ve just been in the gym getting extra shots up, trying to get in a good rhythm,” Prince said. “Since I got here, my legs have been a little heavy. .. Obviously, I don’t expect to have games like that, but I had a good rhythm and good flow. “
Memphis carried a 47-37 lead into halftime. Conley had 12 points, connecting on 4 of 8 shots, including 2 of 3 outside the arc, in the opening half. Memphis was already establishing its advantage in transition, outscoring the Timberwolves 16-0 on the fast break.
“That was a big difference,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said.
NOTES: The wounded Wolves were without F Chase Budinger, F Andrei Kirilenko, F/C Kevin Love, G Malcolm Lee and G Brandon Roy because of an array of injuries, leaving Minnesota with only 10 players. J.J. Barea didn’t play because of a left foot sprain. … Memphis is 15-0 when scoring at least 100 points. … The Timberwolves have not won in Memphis since Jan. 6, 2009. … Grizzlies F Quincy Pondexter played for the first time since suffering a left MCL sprain on Dec. 29 against Denver. He played 4 minutes in the first half and did not score, missing his only shot. … Minnesota coach Rick Adelman arrived about 4 minutes into the game. He flew in Sunday after spending time with his wife, who is dealing with seizures. . Prince’s perfect shooting matched Memphis G Tony Allen’s 8-for-8 performance on Jan. 4, 2012, also against Minnesota.