The Spanish power forward Marc Gasol claimed his status as a franchise player and with 21 points he helped the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 95-92 and break the 11-game losing streak.
The victory was also the first that the Grizzlies won under the direction of the new interim coach B.J. Bickerstaff, who since last Monday took the place of David Fizdale, who was fired, and had lost the first three games that the team played with him on the bench.
Gasol was again the player who spent more time on the court to play 35 minutes and score 6 of 14 field goals, including a triple of two attempts, and 8 of 9 from the line of personnel.
The player of Sant Boi also captured seven rebounds, including six defensive, gave five assists, put a stopper, lost two balls and committed two personal fouls.
Gasol also won the individual duel to the Dominican American center Karl-Anthony Towns who scored only seven points in the 38 minutes he played.
Towns hit 2 of 6 field goals, including a 3-pointer, 2-2 from the personnel line, 11 rebounds – 10 defenses -, three assists, a stopper and four personal fouls.
The Tyreke Evans guard contributed 16 points, including two personnel shots with 12.7 seconds remaining, which gave the Grizzlies the definite advantage.
The Grizzlies had not won a game since Nov. 7 and had to wait for guard-forward Jimmy Butler of the Timberwolves in the final possession of the game to miss the triple attempt.
Butler with 30 points led the Timberwolves attack for the second consecutive game with at least that score.
While power forward Taj Gibson reached 14 points, Canadian forward Andrew Wiggins and point guard Jeff Teague scored 12 points apiece for the Timberwolves (14-11), who lost the Northwest Division lead that are now shared by Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets.
The game came tied at 86-86 with 5:43 minutes left and Gasol with two field goals broke it to give the Grizzlies the advantage that they maintained until the end, although the margin was not higher than 3 goals in a match who had 14 leader changes and 12 draws.
The Grizzlies ‘defense (8-1) also helped them decide the victory by limiting the Timberwolves’ attack to just 17 points in the fourth quarter.