A quarter of the way through the NBA season, the Memphis Grizzlies have struggled. In the midst of an 11-game losing streak, being short-handed due to injuries and seeing a shift in coaching personnel following the firing of David Fizdale, the Grizzlies hadn’t won a game in nearly a month, dating back to Nov. 7.
That changed Monday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Grizzlies took down the Wolves 95-92 at FedEx Forum in Memphis to end the double-digit losing streak. The win came against a worn out Minnesota team, coming off a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in Minneapolis.
The Wolves had plenty of chances to take the second game of a back-to-back in Memphis, going on a few runs in the middle of both the third and fourth quarters, only to have the Grizzlies answer back with runs of their own.
Minnesota also had a chance to take the lead with under a minute to go and down one point, as well as having the chance to tie the game up down three in the final seconds, but Jimmy Butler couldn’t quite lift the Wolves to victory for a second straight night.
Butler did just about all he could, with the exception of missing the game-tying shot at the end of the game. In 40 minutes, he finished with 30 points, five assists, four steals and two rebounds.
Along with Butler, Taj Gibson had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jeff Teague had 12 points and two assists, Andrew Wiggins struggled from the field to finish with 12 points and five rebounds and Karl-Anthony Towns, limited to just six shots, had seven points and 11 rebounds for the Wolves.
Minnesota, which is also short-handed to an extent with injuries, saw a less-than-impressive performance from its three-man bench rotation in the loss. Gorgui Dieng, who had a nice first half but didn’t really do much in the second half, had 10 points and seven rebounds. Jamal Crawford noticeably struggled, finishing with five points on 2-of-10 shooting, and Tyus Jones had two points and two rebounds in 16 minutes, although he did put together a nice stretch in the fourth quarter.
Memphis was led by none other than Marc Gasol, who had 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and hit some key free throws late in the game. Tyreke Evans had 16 points and nine assists, Jeff Green had 14 points and nine rebounds and James Ennis III added 13 points off the bench.
The Wolves, who fall to 14-11 on the season with the defeat, will get the chance to rest up before taking on the Clippers once again on Wednesday in Los Angeles. In the middle of a stretch of games, many thought the playoff-hopeful Wolves should handle easily, they’ve done everything but do just that.
And now over a quarter of the way through the season, Minnesota still has kinks to work out. That was on display yet again on Monday in Memphis.
The Grizzlies were going to win eventually. As @JimPeteHoops pointed out, their schedule during that losing streak was BRUTAL. Not as bad as the streak exists.