Love has 30 to lift ‘Wolves past Grizzlies 101-93

Kevin Love’s 3-point shooting is opening up things for

Minnesota’s offense and Timberwolves took advantage Sunday,

notching their first victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in almost

four years.

Love had 30 points and nine rebounds, the Timberwolves hit a

season-high 12 3-pointers and Minnesota beat the Grizzlies 101-93,

snapping Minnesota’s 11-game losing streak to Memphis.

Love, who connected on all but one of his nine 3-pointers in

Friday night’s loss to San Antonio, was 11 of 21 from the field

Sunday, including 4 of 8 from outside the arc as Minnesota

converted 12 of 26 from long range in winning for the third time in

four games. Minnesota had made 11 3-pointers six times this season,

including in Friday night’s loss at San Antonio.

”It’s crazy,” reserve guard J.J. Barea said of Love’s offense.

”It opens up the drive for everybody. Everybody else can play

freely. You know they are going to have to pay attention the rest

of the game to him.”

Nikola Pekovic scored 19 points, while Barea had 15, hitting 3

of 5 from outside the arc. Ricky Rubio finished with 12 points.

Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 28 points before leaving with

just under 4 minutes to go with a bruised left thigh. Zach Randolph

had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Jon Leuer scored 15, and Jerryd

Bayless added 14 as Memphis lost its third straight.

Conley was listed as day to day after the game. It was the

latest in a spate of injuries for Memphis, which has lost starting

center Marc Gasol and reserve swingman Quincy Pondexter

indefinitely. Tony Allen and Ed Davis just returned from missing

several games apiece with injuries. That has left the Grizzlies

trying to work their way through makeshift lineups to find a

defensive identity.

”I don’t think it is frustration,” Allen said. ”It’s all

about getting it together and practice. We just have to keep

sticking to the things that pretty much gained our notoriety.”

Memphis made several runs at Minnesota in the fourth quarter,

cutting the Timberwolves’ lead to 95-92 when Randolph scored inside

with 2:27 left.

But Pekovic converted four straight free throws to create the

cushion that led to the victory.

”The last 3 minutes, we really executed and played good

defense,” Pekovic said, adding ”that was the difference” from

Friday’s loss to the Spurs.

The Timberwolves relied on their 3-point shooting, led by Love

and Barea, to carry a 56-46 lead into the break. Love had 19

points, connecting on 7 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 5 from

outside the arc. Barea hit all four of his shots in the half,

including a trio of 3-pointers for 13 points.

”When you get down 20 in the first half, you are exerting a lot

of energy to fight back,” Leuer said. ”Nobody quit, and we did

fight back.”

Conley scored 15 of his points in the third quarter to help

Memphis cut into the lead, but Minnesota clung to a 77-73 advantage

entering the fourth.

Memphis was within 81-79 with 9:19 to play, when a flagrant foul

on Davis changed momentum.

Davis was called for the foul on a fast-break drive by Alexey

Shved, and on the shot, Kosta Koufos was called for

goal-tending.

Shved hit the ensuing free throw, and when the Timberwolves got

the ball, Pekovic was able to convert a pair of free throws and

Minnesota had an 86-79 lead.

”That was huge,” Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said of the

swing.

NOTES: Minnesota’s last win over the Grizzlies was Feb. 6, 2010.

The Timberwolves last win in Memphis was Jan. 6, 2009. … The

Grizzlies had an 11-game winning streak over Golden State snapped

earlier this month. … Kevin Martin, Minnesota’s second-leading

scorer with a 21.5 average, was held scoreless. Martin’s last game

without scoring was Feb. 14, 2012, against Memphis when he was with

the Houston Rockets.