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03/31/2013 12:25 AM EDT
Grizzlies pull away to beat Timberwolves 99-86
MEMPHIS 99, MINNESOTA 86

By MIKE COOK
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies broke out of their road
slump the only way they know how: by locking down on defense.



Marc Gasol scored 21 points and the Grizzlies pulled away in the
fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-86 on
Saturday night.



Mike Conley scored 19, Zach Randolph 14 and Darrell Arthur had
12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Grizzlies, who
ended a five-game road losing streak with their 11th straight
victory over Minnesota.



"It's huge," Conley said. "We've lost some games we probably
could have won. To beat a team that is playing well like
Minnesota is always a big win. We're trying to get to that third
spot, that fourth spot. We're right there if we can keep
winning."



Memphis, playing its seventh game in 11 days, moved a half-game
ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth-best record in
the tight Western Conference and is a half-game behind
third-place Denver.



"You definitely got to beat a team like this, but more
importantly, you've got to come out and play your style and try
to play the best way you possibly can," said forward Tayshaun
Prince, who finished with four points. "The bench guys showed
they have some legs for us and played with some energy when they
came out on the floor. That's what was able for us to get the
win."



Minnesota's Ricky Rubio just missed his second career
triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Derrick Williams added 19 points for the Timberwolves, who were
playing without center Nikola Pekovic. He missed the game after
spraining his left ankle Friday late in a victory over Oklahoma
City after scoring 22 points and adding 15 rebounds.



"We had shot after shot, but you've got to make plays," said
Minnesota coach Rick Adelman. "I thought defensively we were
hanging in there in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter the
floodgates opened and they started knocking down shots. We
couldn't get anything going. Had no answer."



Arthur scored nine points during a 16-2 run to start the final
period, including a 3-pointer and follow shot, to give the
Grizzlies an 81-69 lead with 7 minutes to play. A long jumper
and a 3-pointer by Quincey Pondexter stretched the lead to
86-73.



Not only did Memphis start to hit shots, it also picked up its
defensive intensity. Minnesota had just one basket, a 3-pointer
by Rubio, in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, and
also held the Wolves to 43.3 percent for the game.



"In that second half we kind of just hit a wall offensively,"
said Chase Budinger, who was 1 for 6 from the field. "Give
credit to them. They're probably the best defensive team in the
league at taking on the pick-and-roll."



In his third game back after missing two games with an abdominal
tear, Gasol also had eight rebounds and six assists.



"Right now he's one of the top three centers in the league. He's
doing a great job. He knows how to play," Rubio said. "He can
assist like a point guard. He shoots the mid-range very well.
And on defense it's tough because he's so big. He's great."



Rubio had nine points in the first quarter, including five
during a 12-2 run that put Minnesota up 25-17.



The Minnesota reserves pushed the lead to 37-26, including a
desperation 3-pointer by Alexey Shved, before the Grizzlies
tightened up on defense and went on a 13-2 run to get within one
late in the first half. However, Rubio scored on a drive at the
buzzer to give Minnesota a 50-45 halftime lead.



NOTES: The Grizzlies are 20-16 on the road, setting a franchise
record for road wins in a season. ... Adelman remains three wins
shy of 1,000 for his career. ... Jerryd Bayless finished with
two points for the Grizzlies. He'd been averaging 19.1 points in
his last eight games. ... The Timberwolves had seven of their 17
turnovers in the third quarter and went 4 for 14 from the field
in the period, scoring 17 points.

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