MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Memphis coach Mike Fratello has used a number
of rotations since taking over the Grizzlies.
The Pau Gasol-Earl Watson combination worked very well in a
comeback victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday
night. Gasol scored 23 points and Watson added 20 to lead Memphis
to a 104-95 victory.
The pair made 16 of 20 shots.
"We're just trying to find a group out there that's working
together, executing and playing at a high level," Gasol said.
"We're all adjusting to a new system and now we're feeling more
comfortable and understanding everything better."
Watson shot 7-for-10 -- 5-for-5 -- from 3-point range for Memphis,
which trailed by 15 points in the first half. Fellow reserve Bonzi
Wells added 18 points as Memphis won its third straight and for the
sixth time in eight games.
"Earl's gotten a chance to ride minutes and he's doing a good
job of riding them," said Fratello, 9-6 since taking over for
"I was just out there playing ball," Watson said. "My thing
is that I have to get comfortable."
Kevin Garnett had 30 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which
has lost four of five. Wally Szczerbiak scored 22 points, Latrell
Sprewell added 17, and Sam Cassell had 10 assists but only four
The Wolves kept their locker room closed longer than usual after
the game, and coach Flip Saunders acknowledged that the team is
"They feel bad," Saunders said. "They're not taking this
"It's easy to stay together when things are great," Garnett
said. "When things are down and you go through a little adversity,
you start to show your true colors.
"The thing about this team is that we're all real with each
other and feel like we're brothers."
The Grizzlies led 81-76 to start the fourth and were still ahead
by five with 3:20 left when Watson pushed the advantage to 98-90
with his third 3-pointer of the quarter. Minnesota scored four
straight points before Mike Miller hit a 3-pointer to make it
101-94 with 1:39 remaining.
The Wolves didn't get closer than six the rest of the way.
Minnesota led 76-68 with 3:12 left in the third quarter when
Garnett picked up his fourth foul. The Grizzlies took advantage,
scoring 13 straight points to go ahead for the first time. They
carried a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Gasol led Memphis' comeback, scoring 16 points in the third
quarter, and the Grizzlies capitalized on seven Minnesota
"I got into a rhythm and felt like I had to do it at one
point," Gasol said.
"We had a couple mental lapses in that third quarter and let
them back in the game," Szczerbiak said. "We'll work our way out
of this with hard work."
Garnett got the Wolves off to a good start, scoring 12 of their
first 22 points. Minnesota led 34-23 after the first quarter.
The lead grew to 44-32 with 7:30 left in the second when Memphis
made a run. Shane Battier started the spurt with a free throw and a
field goal, and finished it with a 3-pointer that brought the
Grizzlies within 49-47 with 2:33 left.
But the Wolves closed the half strong, and Sprewell's 3-pointer
at the buzzer made it 57-50.
Troy Hudson scored nine points in 17 minutes. The Wolves' backup
point guard was kept out of the previous game following criticism
from Saunders and comments his agent made about a trade.
Minnesota had won four straight at home by an average of 20
points. ... Sprewell made a layup with 2:02 left in the first
quarter to go over 16,000 points. His jumper with 10:31 left in the
third moved Sprewell past Derek Harper for 71st on the career
scoring list. ... Memphis F Brian Cardinal was activated from the
injured list and scored four points, but he got hit in the shoulder
in the second half and was hurting after the game. The team says he
and Swift are day-to-day.