Less than 24 hours afer a nice win on their home floor, the Timberwolves were back on the court in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. Let’s get right to it; the Wolves opened up with the same lineup from Sunday night (!!) – Rubio, Ridnour, Kirilenko, Williams, and Pekovic. The Grizzlies opened up with Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol.
The Pups jumped out to an early 11-4 lead, with the entire starting lineup contributing a little bit of something to the advantage. That forced an early timeout from Lionel Hollins. However, that advantage slowly but surely diminished over the rest of the quarter, as the Grizzlies ended the quarter on a 9-0 run and held a 22-20 advantage at the end of the 1st quarter.
While low scoring, the 2nd quarter was relatively enjoyable. Earlier in the quarter, Alexey Shved looked to be heating up a bit hitting his first two jumpers. Unfortunately that run was short lived and he seemed to disappear as the minutes wore on. I think Alexey could use a night off. That can’t happen right now given the roster, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. The bad version of JJ Barea came to play in Memphis. At halftime, Barea was 1-7 from the field
The Grizzlies big men dominated the first half with Prince, Randolph, and Gasol all having very nice quarters. Ed Davis came in to grab 5 rebounds and 2 blocks as well. Memphis closed the quarter with a fury, as a Mike Conley jumper was sandwiched between a few defensive highlights from Prince. At the half, the Grizzlies held a 45-39 lead. Here are a few halftime thoughts through my Wolves lens:
- After a good shooting night Sunday, the Wolves were back to 36% for the first half
- JJ and Ricky were a combined 2-12 from the field in the half – that isn’t going to get it done
- Very few FT’s in the half, as the Wolves were 3-3 and the Grizzlies were 4-6
Someone forgot to tell the Pups that the 3rd quarter started as the Grizzlies jumped out to a 9-0 run to build a double digit lead. The Marc Gasol show continued as he made Pekovic look inferior. The entire Wolves squad were ice cold in the first half and even worse in the 3rd quarter. Halfway through the quarter, the Grizzlies outscored the Wolves 18-4 and held a 20 point lead, 63-43.
With a 70-47 lead in the 3rd quarter, Wolves fans around the world had heart problems. Ricky Rubio collided knees with Jerryd Bayless and limped off to the court. As TV coverage returned to the game, Rubio was on the bench. Minutes later, the Grizzlies TV crew noted that he was on his way to the locker room. Words cannot describe the level of frustration this season has become.
At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Grizzlies held a 74-53 lead. It was ugly while Rubio was in there, the game became a sideshow afterward, with the Grizzlies pouring it on with highlight reel dunks and uncontested three pointers. The only good news to come out of this entire portion of the game was that the Wolves sideline reported that Rubio simply tweaked his groin and he was in the back trying to stretch it out. He should be good to go later in the week when the Wolves return to action.
While the Pups reserves made a run in the 4th quarter, it was far too little, too late. Minnesota outscored the Grizzlies 24-18 in the final frame, but it did little to make the final score look much better. I’ll spare you the details. This might help paint a picture: Alexey Shved was the Wolves leading scorer in the game with 12 points.
Keys of the Game
- Shooting– Once again, the Wolves shoot a low percentage (34%) and it completely deflates your hopes of a comeback. At the same time, they took 24 (?!?!) three point attempts. This roster is horrific at 3PT shooting and yet they continue to hoist them up.
- Frontline play – The Grizzlies starting frontline ate up the Wolves tonight. Prince and Randolph both had double doubles and Marc Gasol looked better than both of them. None of the Wolves frontline starters scored in double digits and Williams “led” the three Pups with 6 rebounds.
Three Stars of the Game
- Mike Conley – Dominated the PG matchup tonight against Rubio with 20 points, including 8-14 from the field and 3-6 from long range. He also added 6 assists and 2 steals, with only 1 turnover.
- Marc Gasol – Also dominated his Wolves counterpart. There has been a good amount of chatter on Pekovic’s forthcoming free agency online. Tonight’s game didn’t help his cause.
- Tayshaun Prince – 12 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists for the Grizzlies starting SF. Prince shut down Kirilenko and made a few, key defensive plays in the game to halt small runs by the Wolves.