Timberwolves Attack Grizzlies, Come Away With 101-93 Win

The Timberwolves improved their shooting Sunday night, and the squad came away with a much-needed road win. Kevin Love led the team with 30 points, followed by Nikola Pekovic who added 19.

On paper, both teams matched up pretty evenly for the evening. They each ended the game with just under 50 percent shooting, and their rebound totals were 44 (MIN) and 47 (MEM). Mike Conley scored 28 points for the Grizzlies, and Zach Randolph came away with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

(photo credit: NBA.com)

(photo credit: NBA.com)

In the end, however, it was simple: the Wolves put up more points.

As a team, the Wolves’ three-point shooting–not typically a strong area for Minnesota–proved a major factor in the win. The Wolves shot 46.2 percent from the perimeter, knocking down 12 three-pointers on the night. Love tallied four of those buckets, while JJ Barea came off the bench to add three of his own. [Read more...]

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!

Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies, 2/10/13

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Setting the stage:

The Timberwolves are back out on the road after a wildly unsuccessful six game home stretch, with the team losing 5 of 6 at home.  Going further back the team has lost 14 of its last 16 games in total and it looks like the ship has sailed on this season.  The current streak has moved the Wolves 11 games under .500 and to 18-29 on the season, 7.5 games behind the Jazz and Rockets for the last two seeds in the Western Conference playoff race.

If you are looking for a silver bullet for the remainder of the season, it is the return of the real Ricky Rubio.  Over the past week Rubio has averaged 14 points and 12 assists while playing well over 30 minutes per game.  He is getting teammates the ball where they want/need it and has added to the highlight reel in each game.  Rubio’s play is just about the only thing left to look forward to right now until Love and Budinger return.

For the first time this season, the Grizzlies match up against our Wolves.  Memphis comes into today’s game off of a win Friday night against Golden State, improving their record to 31-18 on the season.  The Grizzlies made news less than two weeks ago when they unofficially opened up the NBA trade season by shipping Rudy Gay out along with other pieces that in return netted Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, and Austin Daye.  I like Rudy a lot, but this was a pretty good deal for Memphis for the long term.

Player to watch:

Zach Randolph – Randolph has been playing well this season and will likely have a larger role in the offense without Gay.  Without Love and Kirilenko playing for the Wolves, it will be interesting to see what Derrick Williams can do against the crafty left hander.  I would expect a big night from the veteran in this favorable match-up.

Match-up to watch:

Nikola Pekovic vs. Marc Gasol.  Per my venting from Friday’s game against the Knicks, the Wolves must feed Pek the ball in the paint.  Pek needs to have a monster game in order for the team to have any chance of winning this evening and his teammates need to put much more of an effort in getting him the ball.  Gasol’s numbers are down this season vs. last but he is still having a very good year, averaging 13.7 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.

Predictions:

As mentioned earlier, Andrei Kirilenko will not play again this evening and that takes away the vast majority of the chance the Wolves had at pulling this one out.

Final score prediction: Twolves 94, Grizzlies 106

Three stars of the game predictions:

  1. Zach Randolph
  2. Tony Allen
  3. Ricky Rubio

Let’s go Wolves!