Wolves bow to Grizzlies
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Jeff Teague didn’t mince words.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ 101-93 loss to the lowly Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night was devastating.
“This is the worst loss, by far,’’ Teague said. “This was a must-win for us. Every game down the stretch is a must-win. Against a team, take nothing from them, but they’re not playing for anything right now. They’re playing for heart and pride, and they came out and kicked us.’’
Wayne Selden scored 23 points as Memphis snapped its 17-game road losing streak. Marc Gasol added 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, helping the Grizzlies deal a blow to Minnesota’s playoff hopes.
Selden and Gasol each hit four 3-pointers as Memphis went 15 of 31 from beyond the arc. JaMychal Green had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“I feel like we take a lot of pride, especially after losing a big one, we really buckled down,’’ Selden said. “I think we were losing focus a little bit, I think we really buckled down, and we want to focus on these last games.’’
Teague had 25 points and seven assists for the Timberwolves, who lost their second straight game and dropped to 6-7 since All-Star Jimmy Butler was lost to a knee injury. Karl-Anthony Towns had his league-leading 62nd double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Minnesota (42-33) dropped to eighth in the Western Conference standings, a half-game back of idle Utah.
“Hard to explain,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said of the loss.
Having dropped 23 of its previous 24 games, Memphis showed early on it wasn’t going to roll over for the playoff-hopeful Wolves.
The Grizzlies shot 63.6 percent in the second quarter on their way to a 59-all tie at the break.
Teague keyed an 8-0 run in the third as the Timberwolves opened an 82-76 lead. But Selden hit three 3s in the fourth as Memphis outscored Minnesota 23-11 in the final period.
Andrew Wiggins, who finished with 18 points, was 3 of 6 from the field in the fourth. The rest of the Wolves shot 0 for 11.
“It wasn’t just that fourth quarter,’’ Minnesota forward Taj Gibson said. “It was the whole game. They came out. We were playing with fire from the beginning. I felt it.’’