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Foye propels Timberwolves past Grizzlies

Jan 7, 2009 - 5:30 AM By Shawn Pachucki PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Randy Foye scored 23 points and provided the clutch offense and defense down the stretch to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 94-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night.

Foye scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and hit a 3-pointer in the final minute to break a tie game and push the Timberwolves to their first three-game win streak since January 2007.

It was Minnesota's fourth win in five games overall after starting the season 5-25.

The Grizzlies used a 12-2 run that featured back-to-back three-point plays by Hakim Warrick and Marc Gasol to knot the game at 87-87 with 1:30 to play before Foye stepped up with a dagger from the arc with 40 seconds left. He followed it with a block on O.J. Mayo's driving layup attempt on the other end.

"I knew it wasn't over after I hit that (3-pointer)," Foye said. "I was like, 'Man, I've got to get a stop.' I just kept playing hard, (Mayo) came at me and I got the block."

After a layup by Ryan Gomes increased the lead to 92-87 a few seconds later, Foye iced the game with a pair of free throws with just under 20 seconds to go.

"Foye hit a huge (3-pointer) and then his block on O.J. was ridiculous," Wolves head coach Kevin McHale said. "Game-ending plays, that's what we talk about all the time. On the road, you're going to have to make some game-ending plays, and we did."

Minnesota's second-leading scorer at 14.7 points per game, Foye has averaged nearly 19.0 over his last four and has hit 11-of-19 3-pointers in that span, including 4-of-7 in this one.

"We're playing confident right now," Foye said. "We're making good decisions and everybody is getting involved."

All five starters reached double figures for the Timberwolves, who shot 47 percent (35-of-74) and never trailed in the game.

Al Jefferson had 19 points and 13 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season, and Craig Smith hit 7-of-8 shots to end with 15. Gomes added 14 points and Sebastian Telfair chipped in 10 to go with nine assists for the Timberwolves.

Jefferson's 11 points in the third quarter helped Minnesota overcome some hot shooting by the Grizzlies. Memphis hit nine of their first 10 shots in the third quarter but could never stop Jefferson and cut into the lead.

"We knew they were going to make a run at us, and we matched them with some points to keep the lead," Jefferson said. "I was able to do get the ball in good spots and score (in the third). (Foye) made the big plays in the fourth when they came back."

The Timberwolves stepped up their effort on the glass as the game wore on as well, outrebounding the Grizzlies 20-10 in the second half after losing the rebounding battle 27-18 over the first 24 minutes.

Warrick led the Grizzlies with 22 points off the bench, his ninth consecutive outing in double figures. Mayo posted 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Gasol added 13.

The Grizzlies shot 42 percent (32-of-77) and made only 2-of-13 shots from beyond the arc, struggling to make the big plays throughout most of the game after notching their most impressive win of the season Sunday - a 20-point win over Dallas.

"It was a very inconsistent effort," Grizzlies head coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We were scratching and clawing all the way back. They just did a better job executing."

"I can't put my finger on it, but it's not fun," said Memphis forward Rudy Gay, who scored 12 points but managed just four in the second half. "Winning big games, and then losing the ones we should take."

Minnesota built an early cushion behind 61-percent (11-18) shooting in the first quarter. Foye hit a pair of 3-pointers, and the Wolves led, 31-23, at the end of the frame.

Despite 10 points off the bench from Warrick and a dry spell from the Minnesota shooters in the second, the Grizzlies weren't able to gain much ground. Memphis shot 34 percent in the half (16-of-47) and trailed, 45-39, at the break.

"I'd like to say we have some deep-rooted problems and we fix them," said Iavaroni, whose Grizzlies have dropped five of six. "But it comes down to, 'Can you get an open shot and make it?' Unfortunately, we have not."