By: Jonah Sprinkel
The Minnesota Timberwolves dismantling of the Portland Trailblazers could not have come at a better time. The Jimmy Butler era is in the rear-view mirror. The team was coming off back to back wins over Brooklyn and New Orleans. The team donned purple in honor of Prince. Oh, and some guy named Kevin Garnett showed up to watch the game. Guys! It's actually fun to be a Timberwolves fan right now! Next up, the Memphis Grizzlies.
What: Grizzlies @ Wolves
When: 2:30 PM CT
Where: Target Center
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 AM WCCO
What to watch for
Wolves defense: In the last two wins over New Orleans and Portland the Wolves held both teams at or under 100 points. Both teams shot under 43 percent from the field and connected on nine or fewer threes. For New Orleans, a top-10 offense, and Portland, a top-five offense, these could be off nights. It could also be the post-Butler honeymoon phase. Or, maybe, just possibly, the Wolves have figured out something on defense.
The Grizzlies don’t make sense: This team has a 9-5 record and sit in fifth place in the Western Conference. They have won four of their last five with wins over Denver, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. In other words, this is not a squad to be trifled with. The grit and grind era may be over in Memphis, but this Mike Conley and Marc Gasol-led squad is still overachieving.
Wiggins and Towns from deep: There are 106 players in the NBA that are attempting at least three and a half catch and shoot threes per game. On these looks, Karl-Anthony Towns ranks 15th in percentage while Andrew Wiggins sits at 18th. For a team that continually dwells in the bottom half of the league in threes attempted, it might be a decent idea to get KAT and Wiggins a few extra catch and shoot looks.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Robert Covington, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Memphis: PG Mike Conley, SG Garrett Temple, SF Kyle Anderson, PF Jaren Jackson Jr, C Marc Gasol
Minnesota: Jerryd Bayless – OUT (knee)
Memphis: Dillon Brooks - OUT (left knee sprain), Chandler Parsons – OUT (right knee soreness)
The Wolves are favored by 4.5 but this game feels like a bit of a trap. The Grizzlies are on a hot streak. KAT tends to struggle against physical big men like Gasol. Memphis wins 105-103.