Preview – Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies 3-18-13

wolves grizz previewSetting the stage:

After a nice win at the Target Center on St. Patrick’s Day, the Timberwolves reward was to get on a plane and head to Memphis for the second of a back-to-back against the Grizzlies.  The two teams have only played once thus far this season, back on 2/11, where the Grizzlies dominated the Wolves and won by a final score of 105-88.

Memphis has had the Wolves number for some time now, winning the last ten meetings between the two teams.  The Grizzlies will also be looking to win their eighth straight on their home court, which would also snap a two game losing streak that they are on.  They are coming off of a loss in Utah on Saturday night, which puts them in a dead heat with the Nuggets for the 4th seed in the Western Conference.

Minnesota received a boost on Sunday with the return of Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic to the starting lineup.  While Pekovic looked solid throughout the game against the Hornets, it looked like Kirilenko was a little rusty.  However, he came up with the key defensive plays at the end of the game to help seal the win for the team.  While he isn’t expected to be ready to play tonight, there are rumblings that Chase Budinger’s return is near as well.

Player to watch:

Zach Randolph – Since returning to the lineup last week, Randolph has been on a tear, averaging 17.3 ppg and 11.3 rpg.  He’ll be facing a vastly improved Derrick Williams and it will be interesting to see what the crafty lefthander can do against an un-caged lion.

Match-up to watch:

Nikola Pekovic vs. Marc Gasol.  Pekovic looked good in his return on Sunday night but did not have a great defensive game against Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis.  He will need to step it up tonight when he faces an underrated center in Marc Gasol.  In the meeting in February, Gasol put up 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.  At the same time, he held Pekovic to only 8 points and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes of action.

Predictions:

Tonight’s game includes a tough travel itinerary and a very tough team/match-up for the Wolves.

Final score prediction: Timberwolves 82, Grizzlies 96

Three stars of the game predictions:

  1. Marc Gasol
  2. Zach Randolph
  3. Ricky Rubio

Let’s go Wolves!