2.12.2008

Garnett v. Gasol: Two Games

Game One

Garnett finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, two steals, three blocked shots and five turnovers By contrast, Gasol shot a nasty 2-for-13.

Minnesota All-Star Kevin Garnett just got a piece of the basketball, deflecting Gay's dunk attempt. Garnett then gave his first-year adversary a shove and an earful. Griz guard Dahntay Jones got caught in verbal jousting with Garnett and Ricky Davis at different times.

No matter what was said, Minnesota's actions were clear. The Timberwolves had no interest in a fast-and-free affair, and instead forced the Grizzlies to try and grind out a win.

No such luck, as Griz interim head coach Tony Barone Sr. eventually benched his franchise player for not meeting the Timberwolves' "physicality" during a 116-110 loss Friday night in FedExForum. Griz center Pau Gasol went to the bench with 8:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, and didn't return.

So irritation surfaced in the aftermath of the Griz again failing to establish their first two-game win streak this season. When asked why Gasol didn't play down the stretch, Barone snapped and said "he didn't come to play."

Gasol delivered a more diplomatic response even though he was clearly bothered by being benched. "I think you would imagine that I'd be disappointed," said Gasol, who finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three turnovers in 30 minutes. "I'll try to do a better job next time so they can keep me in the game and help my team like KG did."

Garnett did the most damage. He led the Timberwolves with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Garnett also came away with clutch baskets and rebounds as Minnesota controlled the glass from start to finish.

"Garnett is a superstar," Barone said. "You expect superstars to get it done and he did."

Garnett led Minnesota's intensity from the start, which set the tone, translated into a 20-point first-half lead and accounted for Minnesota's season-high point total.

"It's not that we were scared," Gasol said. "I guess we just got caught off guard. Garnett tried to intimidate me. But that's how he is."

Garnett said they were intent on not allowing the Griz to run and gun.

"They don't specialize in defense," Garnett said. "We were able to crash the boards and we got our butts back down the court. That's how we controlled it. Offense is not what we worried about."

Game 2

The last time the Wolves played Memphis was the day before the trade with Boston, a day after the Grizzlies, led by Pau Gasol, shot nearly 63 percent in a 20-point victory. Gasol, guarded by Kevin Garnett much of the time, didn't miss a first-half shot that night, finishing with 30 points.

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