Timberwolves 114, Grizzlies 108
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Zach LaVine scored 28 points, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 114-108 victory over the depleted Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night at FedExForum.
LaVine's output included six 3-pointers. The Timberwolves shot 56.3 percent and survived being outrebounded 51-33. Minnesota also got 18 points from Karl-Anthony Towns and 16 from Andrew Wiggins.
The Grizzlies, whose injury list includes starters Marc Gasol (out for the season), Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, were led Lance Stephenson, who was coming off a right wrist sprain. Stephenson scored 24 points off the bench. JaMychal Green added 18 points for the Grizzlies, who scored 70 points in the paint.
Struggling with the rash of late-season injuries, Memphis (39-29) lost for the fifth time in seven games. Minnesota (22-46) won for only the second time in five games.
Trailing 90-78 entering the final quarter, the Grizzlies quickly surrendered the next five points. They cut the margin to 97-87 a few minutes later on a 3-pointer by recently acquired Ray McCallum and battled back to trim the Minnesota advantage to 106-102 on a Matt Barnes fastbreak layup with 1:42 left.
A Jarrel Martin put-back made it 108-104 with 1:12 to go, but the Grizzlies could get no closer in the final minutes.
After grabbing a 6-2 lead, the Grizzlies were unable to stop a torrid-shooting Timberwolves team led by LaVine. In the opening quarter, LaVine made four of five 3-point attempts and had 14 points for the Timberwolves, who shot 67 percent. Minnesota led 42-25 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Timberwolves stretched their lead to 59-40 after a 3-pointer by Wiggins before the Grizzlies rallied behind Stephenson.
Stephenson's driving layup through the heart of the Minnesota defense with 1:31 to go trimmed the advantage to 62-53. His layup off an inbounds pass moments later made it 62-55, and another layup, in the closing seconds, sliced the deficit to two.
Minnesota shot 61 percent in the opening half and led 64-57 at the break. LaVine had 19 first-half points, including five 3-pointers. Stephenson had 17 points in the half, with 14 coming in the second quarter.
The Timberwolves again attempted to put the game away in the third quarter by going up 80-60 early in the period. Memphis battled back and put together an 11-0 run, powered by Green, to pull within 82-73. Green scored the final six during the surge.
NOTES: The Grizzlies signed G Xavier Munford to a 10-day contract. He became the fourth player signed to a 10-day contract in the past six days for the injury-riddled team. Memphis received a second injury exception to make room for him on the roster. Munford appeared in 41 games for Bakersfield in the NBA Development League before his call-up and was averaging 20.4 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds. ... Timberwolves C Nikola Pekovic missed his 19th straight game with a right ankle injury. ... Entering Wednesday's game, the Grizzlies' magic number for clinching a playoff spot was nine (a combination of nine Memphis wins or nine Utah losses). After Wednesday's game, the Grizzlies had 14 games remaining (seven home, seven road). ... The Timberwolves' bench was outscored 37-12 in Monday night's loss to the Phoenix Suns. Since the Feb. 18 trade deadline, the Timberwolves' bench ranks last in scoring at 25.3 points per game.