MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Kevin Love’s 3-point shooting is opening up things for Minnesota’s offense and the Timberwolves took advantage Sunday, notching their first victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in almost four years.
Love had 30 points and nine rebounds, the Timberwolves hit a season-high 12 3-pointers and Minnesota beat the Grizzlies 101-93, snapping Minnesota’s 11-game losing streak to Memphis.
Love, who connected on all but one of his nine 3-pointers in Friday night’s loss to San Antonio, was 11 of 21 from the field Sunday, including 4 of 8 from outside the arc as Minnesota converted 12 of 26 from long range in winning for the third time in four games. Minnesota had made 11 3-pointers six times this season, including in Friday night’s loss at San Antonio.
“It’s crazy,” reserve guard J.J. Barea said of Love’s offense. “It opens up the drive for everybody. Everybody else can play freely. You know they are going to have to pay attention the rest of the game to him.”
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 28 points before leaving with just under 4 minutes to go with a bruised left thigh. Zach Randolph had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Jon Leuer scored 15, and Jerryd Bayless added 14 as Memphis lost its third straight.
Conley was listed as day to day after the game. It was the latest in a spate of injuries for Memphis, which has lost starting center Marc Gasol and reserve swingman Quincy Pondexter indefinitely. Tony Allen and Ed Davis just returned from missing several games apiece with injuries. That has left the Grizzlies trying to work their way through makeshift lineups to find a defensive identity.
Thunder 101, Magic 98
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists, as the Thunder held off Orlando to win their 12th straight home game to open the season.
Russell Westbrook added 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which has won six straight overall and 14 of its last 15. The Thunder have beaten the Magic in five straight meetings.
An 11-1 run near the end of the first half gave Oklahoma City control until Orlando rallied within two points in the final minute. Durant hit a free throw and Serge Ibaka blocked a shot by Nikola Vucevic to preserve the win.
Kings 106, Rockets 91
In Sacramento, Rudy Gay scored 26 points in his first home game since coming over in a trade from Toronto, leading the Kings past Houston.
Gay added five rebounds and four assists. He finished 10-for-20 shooting in a dazzling home debut for Sacramento, which had lost eight of its past 10 games.
Blazers 111, Pistons 109 (OT)
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Damian Lillard hit a spinning fadeaway with one-tenth of a second left in overtime to lift Portland over Detroit.
Lillard was guarded well by Rodney Stuckey as he tried to drive to the basket, but he was able to hit a tough fadeaway. Detroit couldn’t get off a shot before the buzzer.
Suns 106, Warriors 102
In Phoenix, Eric Bledsoe scored seven of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Suns won their fifth straight game, holding off Stephen Curry and Golden State.
Bledsoe added eight rebounds and eight assists, Goran Dragic scored 21 points, and Channing Frye added 20 for the Suns.
Nuggets 102, Pelicans 93
In Denver, J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 11 rebounds as Denver overcame a slow start to beat New Orleans.
Wilson Chandler added 19 to help the Nuggets bounce back from a rare home loss on Friday.