Gay leads Grizzlies to 90-86 win over Timberwolves

By Jon Krawczynski

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 4 2012 8:50 p.m. MST

MINNEAPOLIS — Rudy Gay had 19 points and eight rebounds, lifting the Memphis Grizzlies to a 90-86 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night in their first game since learning Zach Randolph would be out for six to eight weeks.

O.J. Mayo scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and Mike Conley had 12 points and eight assists for Memphis.

Kevin Love had 27 points and 14 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 12 points, 10 assists and four rebounds for the Timberwolves, who missed a chance for their first three-game winning streak since February 2010.

Love became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to record 20 points and 12 rebounds in his team's first six games.

But it wasn't enough against the hard-nosed Grizzlies, who scored 23 points off 17 turnovers and held the Wolves to 40 percent shooting to grind out the kind of victory that would make Randolph proud.

Memphis used a 13-0 run to take a 76-68 lead with 3:37 to go, then held on as the Wolves tried to rally.

Love, Luke Ridnour and Rubio hit 3s, the last from the Spaniard with 16.5 seconds to play to make it 84-83. But Conley and Mayo knocked down free throws to hold them off.

Tony Allen added 20 points for Memphis.

The Grizzlies found out earlier Wednesday that they will be missing Randolph, their emotional leader and best player, for the next six to eight weeks because of a torn MCL in his right knee. It was Randolph who instilled the swagger and toughness in this young team last year, carrying them to within one win of the Western Conference finals.

Memphis traded a second-round pick to Philadelphia and sent guard Xavier Henry to New Orleans as part of a three-team trade that landed them Philly big man Marreese Speights, but most of the onus will be put on Gay and Gasol to fill the void.

Memphis trailed 68-63 with 7:45 to play, but ripped off a 13-0 run to take control. Mayo, who was a Timberwolf for about an hour on draft night in 2008 before being traded for Love, hit a 3-pointer, a three-point play and a free throw in the spurt for a 76-68 lead.

The Timberwolves were sluggish for most of the night, but Rubio energized them at the start of the fourth quarter with a nice flurry. He ended the third with a stutter-step score on a drive, then opened the fourth with a 28-foot lob pass to Derrick Williams.

Rubio added a jumper from just inside the 3-point line and drew a charge on the other end as the Wolves took a 64-61 lead.

NOTES: The Timberwolves played without JJ Barea (strained right hamstring) for the third time in four games. Adelman said they wanted to play it cautious and make sure he was full healthy before they brought him back. ... Conley made his first start since spraining his ankle three games ago. ... Wolves F Anthony Tolliver took a nasty fall under the basket in the fourth but was able to finish it out.

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