|Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wayne Ellington (22) drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies defenders Marreese Speights (5) and Tony Allen, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)|
Gay, Cunningham lead Grizzlies over Wolves
Cunningham, inserted into the starting lineup after All-Star center Marc Gasol sat out with a sprained right ankle, was 6 of 9 from the field as all five Memphis starters finished in double figures.
Marreese Speights had 18 points for Memphis, Tony Allen finished with 13, and Mike Conley had 12 points and eight assists as the Grizzlies won their second straight.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 28 points and 11 rebounds, while Wayne Ellington scored 15 points, shooting 6 of 10. Derrick Williams added 14 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost six of eight.
The Grizzlies pulled away the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Timberwolves 25-19 and missing only one of six free throws in the final minute.
Memphis shot 43 percent from the floor and missed all 11 3-point attempts, but overcame that by holding Minnesota to 39 percent overall and 31 percent from 3-point range.
Memphis led 44-41 at the break behind 12 points from Gay. Love had 11 for Minnesota in a half where both teams committed nine turnovers.
The Grizzlies opened a 44-36 lead on a short jumper by Conley, but the Timberwolves scored the last five points of the first half. Conley had headed to the locker room before those final Wolves points, injuring his ankle after hitting the jumper with 1:35 left in the half.
Conley returned to start the second half, but Minnesota came out firing. The Timberwolves used a 20-6 rally to erase the Memphis lead and take their biggest lead of the night at that point, 63-55.
Memphis answered by closing the third quarter with a 13-4 run to retake the lead at 68-67.
The Grizzlies extended the lead to as many as 11 in the final period before the Wolves rallied again. Three-pointers by Love and Ellington pulled them within 88-83 with 1:34 left, but they couldn't get any closer.
NOTES: The Grizzlies were playing their only home game out of a two-week, eight-game stretch. .Wolves G J.J. Barea was not with the team, missing his second straight game with a bruised right quadriceps. .Memphis has won seven straight over Minnesota. The Wolves' last win in the series was Feb. 6, 2010. .Gasol missed his first game of this season. He only missed one game last season. .Love recorded his 65th double-double of the season.