The Memphis Grizzlies appear to be ready for the playoffs after what they showed in their previous game, a hard-fought triumph over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday from Staples Center.
The Grizzlies are back home for a brief moment and will entertain the postseason-hopeful Minnesota Timberwolves tonight on Beale Street. Memphis handed the Lakers a 102-96 setback, ending a three-game slide and winning for just the third time in the past nine contests. It was a tale of two benches in this one, as Memphis' reserves outscored LA's, 41-9.
Rudy Gay led seven players in double figures with 18 points, O.J. Mayo and Zach Randolph scored 16 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench and Mike Conley added 13 and eight assists for the Grizzlies, who went 1-3 on the road trip and are seeded sixth in the Western Conference. Randolph also grabbed 12 rebounds, while Tony Allen added 12 points and both Marreese Speights and Hamed Haddadi scored 10 in the win.
"We were more aggressive," said Mayo, "and we were able to get some easy shots."
The Grizzlies blew a 14-point lead in the third quarter and snapped a three- game losing streak against the Lakers, winning for only the fourth time in the last 14 meetings between the teams. They shot 51.2 percent, and the Lakers came into the contest with the second-best home record in the NBA (20-3). The Grizzlies will hit the road for three games after tonight and will visit Houston, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City -- all playoff-worthy foes.
Memphis is 16-7 at FedEx Forum this season.
Minnesota will play two straight and four of five games on the road, and sits three games off the final postseason spot in the West.
The Wolves are coming off Sunday's 117-100 win over the Denver Nuggets, as Kevin Love posted a double-double of 30 points and 21 rebounds to lead the way. Love, who made 11-of-19 field goals and blocked three shots, was coming off a franchise-best 51-point performance in Friday's double-overtime loss at Oklahoma City.
Luke Ridnour scored 25 points and dished out a game-high six assists for Minnesota, which returned home after a 2-5 road trip. Wayne Ellington contributed 17 points, Michael Beasley had 11 points and Martell Webster and Anthony Tolliver added 10 points apiece.
"We were ready to play. There's no doubt about it," said Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman.
Minnesota notched its first home win over the Nuggets since Feb. 14, 2007 and had a comfortable 33-20 lead after the first 12 minutes. Love has nine games this season with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds, and his 21 boards tied a season high. Beasley returned to the lineup after missing three of the past six games with a sprained big toe.
Guard J.J. Barea missed the game with a thigh contusion after posting a triple-double of 25 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds against the Thunder. He is listed as doubtful against the Grizzlies. Minnesota is 11-14 as the guest.
The Wolves have lost the first two meetings with Memphis this season and the two clubs will meet again April 17 in the Twin Cities. The Grizzlies have won six straight and nine of the past 10 matchups with Minnesota, which is winless in five straight trips to FedEx Forum.