WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (22-58, 6-33 away) at Minnesota Timberwolves (45-25, 28-11 home)
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: FOX Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis- Mike Conley (Out, heel), Marc Gasol (Out, rest), JaMychal Green (Out, knee soreness), Andrew Harrison (Out, wrist/shoulder), Jarell Martin (Out, ankle), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee soreness), Wayne Selden (Out, knee soreness), Tyreke Evans (Out, personal)
Minnesota- Cole Aldrich (Questionable, illness), Justin Patton (Questionable, illness)
Projected Starting Lineup:
Memphis- Kobi Simmons, Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, Ivan Rabb, Marc Gasol
Minnesota- Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson, Karl-Anthony Towns
This preview is simple: Memphis does not need to win, Minnesota desperately needs to win. Minnesota is tied for the eighth place in the Western Conference with just two games left to play. The T-wolves are also in rare form: they do not have any injuries that are preventing them from playing at full strength. On the other hand, Memphis has a plethora of “injuries” that are keeping players off the floor. If Memphis wins this game, it would be stunning.
Minnesota has just recently gotten back Jimmy Butler who was out of basketball for enough time to create rust. He has come back with the hopes of sending this ultra-talented team to the playoffs, but with an almost certain series against in the Houston Rockets in sight. The T-wolves have played .500 basketball the last few weeks, which is why they are holding on for dear life to stay in the playoffs.
The most interesting part about this game is that Minnesota is looking up at three teams tied for the 5-7 seeds, just one game ahead of them. Memphis plays the OKC Thunder after Minnesota, who is one team that the T-Wolves are chasing. Minnesota is tied with the Denver Nuggets, who is the team they are sharing eighth place with. The point is, this game is an essential win for the T-wolves, and Memphis has no reason to win.
Memphis is two games out of the top lottery spot, and fending of Dallas who is just 1.5 games behind them. These two teams are trending in polar opposite directions with different goals to end the season. The Nuggets are riding a five game win streak, so for Minnesota to fend them off, this win against Memphis is a stepping stone for that.
Who knows what players Memphis will put on the floor – there are a million variations with all the players they are signing these days. If they play like they did against Detroit, this game could be entertaining. MarShon Brooks has been the highlight of this season even though he has played for just two weeks. He hasn’t scored less than 21 points in any game he played for Memphis, and he will have two more games to show he isn’t just lucky. Kobi Simmons is getting more minutes and the most recent acquisition Omari Johnson can use this game to show Grizz fans why he is worth a multi-year deal.
With no reason to win, but guys trying to prove themselves in the NBA, who knows what version of the Grizzlies shows up each night.
Stay tuned to see if both team can take care of business.
Memphis has a way with the graceful tank. There is no reason to win this game Memphis and playoff seeding in jeopardy for the T-wolves, yet Memphis knows how to keep a game close. I don’t think they could screw this situation up, Minnesota won’t let them, but these guys want to show what they are capable of. This will be an entertaining one.
Minnesota 104, Memphis 95