Playing poorly against teams with losing records is not ideal for a team trying to move closer to a postseason spot. That just happened to the Memphis Grizzlies, who look to get back on track tonight in a matchup with the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.
Memphis is coming off a rough 88-75 loss to the lowly New Orleans Hornets on Sunday and has lost two of three games since winning four in a row. Rudy Gay's game-high 24 points were wasted and both Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo scored 11 points apiece for the Grizzlies, who are seeded fifth in the Western Conference -- 1 1/2 games up on Denver and two ahead of Dallas.
"We just didn't muster up the energy that we needed to come out and play," admitted Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said. "We played a lot of games the last two weeks, but we still have to come out and play."
Hollins' squad was done in by a 12-4 Hornets run after pulling within four points in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies also committed 21 turnovers for 28 New Orleans points, and could be without Gasol tonight because of a bone bruise in his left knee. Gasol played just four minutes in the fourth quarter after he fell to the floor with the injury, and is averaging career highs of 15.0 points and 9.4 rebounds this season.
On a brighter note for the Grizz, they have won 10 of their last 14 games, including road wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Memphis is 13-18 away from Beale Street this season and will close out the regular season schedule with four of five games at home.
Minnesota was alive at one point in the postseason race, but quickly fell apart and is riding a 10-game losing streak.
The Timberwolves are already without rookie point guard Ricky Rubio (knee) and All-Star big man Kevin Love (concussion). Love has missed three straight games and is out indefinitely for the Wolves, who dropped a 111-88 decision at Indiana last night. J.J. Barea led Minnesota with 14 points and nine assists, while Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams notched 13 points apiece in defeat.
"We didn't come out and play," admitted Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman. "We lost in the first half. I think we weren't ready to play."
Minnesota trailed by a lopsided 64-30 margin after 24 minutes, shot 36.8 percent for the game and was outrebounded, 58-45. The team will play three of four games at home to wrap up the season and is 13-17 in the Twin Cities.
The Wolves will try to avoid being swept in the season series with Memphis for a second straight year and is 0-3 so far in 2011-12. The Grizzlies won all four matchups a season ago and are 10-1 in the past 11 encounters.