Consistency has been an issue with the Memphis Grizzlies lately and perhaps Sunday's showdown with the Minnesota Timberwolves can steer them in the right direction.
The Grizzlies and Timberwolves are meeting for the first time since Memphis swept a four-game season series a year ago. The Grizzlies have won eight in a row, 11 of 12 and 15 of the last 21 matchups with Minnesota, which has dropped six straight and 12 of 15 trips to FedEx Forum.
Memphis ended a two-game slide its last time out in a 99-93 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday in the opener of a three-game homestand. Marc Gasol led the way with 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Zach Randolph added a double-double of his own with 16 points and 12 boards.
"It was a baby step in getting back to being a good team," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "I'm just proud of the effort that we gave for 48 minutes."
Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless scored 17 and 14 points, respectively, for the Grizzlies, who are 7-5 in their last 12 games. Tayshaun Prince was held to six points and is averaging 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his first four games with the Grizz.
The Grizzlies are 19-8 at home and will close out the residency Tuesday versus the Sacramento Kings. They have won 30 of the past 38 as the host, and are 14-0 when scoring 100-plus points, which hasn't happened since Jan. 28.
Memphis also leads the NBA in points allowed per game (90.0).
Minnesota is coming off a six-game homestand (1-5) and will play back-to-back road games in Memphis and Cleveland.
The Wolves lost for the third straight time and are 2-14 in the last 16 games, dropping a 100-94 decision versus the New York Knicks Friday night. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony scored 12 of his 36 points in the final minutes of the game to help New York erase an 11-point deficit, while Luke Ridnour led Minnesota with 20 points.
"We did a good job of coming back and taking the lead, but 'Melo is one of the best players in the world," Wolves forward Derrick Williams said. "They're going to keep giving him the ball every time in the fourth, and he did a good job tonight."
Ricky Rubio ended with 18 points and 11 assists for the Timberwolves, who got 19 points from Williams and 16 points and 11 rebounds out of Nikola Pekovic. Minnesota was ice cold from 3-point range, making only 1-of-13 attempts. It shot 46.3 percent for the game.
Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko missed his second consecutive game with a strained right quadriceps and will miss Sunday's game. He is averaging 13.3 ppg. Wolves guard J.J. Barea (foot) is questionable against the Grizzlies and is posting 11.4 ppg this season.
The T'Wolves are already without Kevin Love (hand) for some time and have lost seven in a row on the road. Minnesota is 6-17 as the visitor this season.