Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Minnesota Timberwolves
When: 7:00 pm CST
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Records: Memphis (35-25), Minnesota (17-42)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis – Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marreese Speights
Minnesota – Jose Barrea, Martell Webster, Anthony Randolph, Derrick Williams, Nikola Pecovic
Memphis walked into the Hornets den and got stung Sunday night. If the team needed a lesson on how not to play against an inferior opponent they should know now.
Memphis lost the halftime lead and got blown out in the second half as poor execution (20 turnovers), poor shooting (25-70 from the field) and poor defensive execution doomed the Grizzlies. It can partially be explained by the fact that the Hornets has been red-hot of late (5 wins in their last 6 games) but only partially.
Marc Gasol is not expected to play tonight with a knee bruise so the team will have to find new ways to get to the paint. Zach Randolph is expected back in the starting lineup with Speights moving to Center. This should give Memphis better paint production and help integrate Randolph back into the starting lineup in time for the playoffs.
Minnesota has been in a free fall. The Timberwolves are 1-10 over their last 11 games and the only win was against Charlotte. Kevin Love is not expected to play due to a concussion. Hot shot rookie Ricky Rubio is out with an injured knee. Former Grizz Darko Milicic has missed 9 consecutive games with a strained hamstring. In short, Minnesota is in bad shape.
Last night Minnesota was at the Pacers and were simply humiliated. The Twolves trailed by 25 points in the first quarter. They were down 34 points at halftime. They played and looked like a team ready for the season to end. However even teams on losing streaks at the end of season usually are good for a late season surprise.
Memphis has to overcome the disappointment in New Orleans, the loss by OKC at the Clippers giving LA a rather commanding two games lead (plus tie-breaker) over the Grizzlies for home court advantage in the playoffs, and the loss of Marc Gasol to take control early. The Timberwolves are a team you don’t want to allow to hang around.
Prediction: Memphis was taught a valuable lesson in New Orleans. Tonight they show what they learned as they handle the Timberwolves.