MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't had a
whole lot to laugh about during this dismal season.
So in their finale, coach Dwane Casey did something about it. He
gave post player Mark Madsen the greenlight from 3-point land, and
Madsen responded by going 0-for-7, much to the delight of his
teammates and the few fans in attendance.
Brian Cardinal scored nine of his 18 points in the second
overtime and Lawrence Roberts added 10 points and 12 rebounds to
lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 102-92 victory over the
Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
"We were fortunate Mark Madsen wasn't on tonight," Cardinal
Madsen, one of the team's hardest workers and most unassuming
personalities, took a career-high 15 shots, making just one of
"The guys were having fun with it," Casey said. "For what
we've been through this season, I thought the guys deserved it. I
hope what we did didn't make a mockery of the game."
He may have done just that, but this game was a sham from the
The Grizzlies wrapped up the fifth seed in the Western
Conference playoffs with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on
Tuesday night and will face fourth-seeded Dallas in the first
round. Some argued that the Grizzlies would have been better off
losing that game.
A loss would have given Memphis the No. 6 seed, and home-court
advantage in the first round against third-seeded Denver, awarded
the higher seed because it won the Northwest Division.
The Timberwolves were in a slightly similar position on
Wednesday night, which gave Casey another motive to let Madsen
The loss guaranteed their chances of holding on to their
first-round draft choice. They traded the pick and point guard Sam
Cassell to the Clippers in the offseason for Marko Jaric.
But the selection is lottery protected, and if the Timberwolves
get No. 10 or better in the lottery, they keep it. At 33-49, the
Wolves now can go no lower than 10th.
"There's been so much doom and gloom around here," Casey said.
"There is a rainbow at the end of the storm."
The Timberwolves led by seven with 3:28 to play on Bracey
Wright's jumper, but in a microcosm of the season, they let the
lead slip away.
Cardinal, who also had 11 rebounds, hit a 3-pointer to tie it at
80 with 18.5 seconds left, sending the game into overtime. He added
three more 3s in the second overtime for the Grizzlies, who have
won eight of nine.
Before the game, Memphis coach Mike Fratello said Gasol's injury
was "a major concern" and that the team would have to wait and
see about his availability for the series against the Mavericks.
If Gasol is healthy, the Grizzlies seem to be peaking at the
right time. They've won eight of their last nine games heading into
their third straight postseason. They were 1-8 in their final nine
two years ago, and 1-5 heading into the playoffs last year.
"We feel good about ourselves," Memphis forward Shane Battier
said. "We feel that we have played well in April, which has not
been the case the last two years."
Eddie Griffin had 17 points and 15 rebounds and rookie Bracey
Wright scored a career-high 19 for the Timberwolves.
Neither team looked particularly excited to be in the arena, as
evident by a 16-14 third quarter won by Memphis.
Madsen chucked up five 3s in the overtimes.
"My rookie year, I shot 1.000 -- 1-for-1," Madsen said with a
smile. "Like my old teammate Greg Foster used to tell me, 'If you
don't let it go, you never know."
The fans showed just as much enthusiasm, with a crowd announced
very generously at 15,934 sitting on their hands, and two wearing
bags on their heads, for most of the final game of an entirely
"It's definitely a relief that it's over," Griffin said.
"It's been a long season with a lot of ups and downs. We just want
to put it behind us."
Fred Hoiberg received a standing ovation between the first
and second quarters. Hoiberg retired on Monday to join the
Timberwolves' front office, deciding not to risk coming back from
open heart surgery he had before the season started. ... Jaric
missed the game with a left shoulder contusion. ... Memphis G Bobby
Jackson received a technical foul at 3:09 of the third.
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