Timberwolves-Grizzlies Preview

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.