T-Wolves' grim season ends with 2OT loss to Grizz

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


Memphis played without leading scorer and rebounder Pau Gasol

(sore foot) and Eddie Jones, while Minnesota rested Kevin Garnett

and Ricky Davis.

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

disappointing season.

"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."Game notes
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.