The Timberwolves (11-12) take on the Memphis Grizzlies (10-12) today in Memphis. The game is at 5 P.M Central and can be seen on FSN (you), LP (me), or listened to on 830 WCCO.
The Wolves have won two of their last three. They’re coming off of a tough loss at San Antonio on Friday, in which Kevin Love was the main attraction. Love put up 42 & 14 whilst shooting 8-9 from downtown in the Wolves 117-110 loss to San Antonio. Kevin Martin had his second straight sub-par game. He scored 14 but shot only 4-12 and played bad defense.
Tonight, the style of play is likely to look very different. Memphis is a grind-it-out, defensive-minded team that will try to stop the Wolves uptempo game.
Will this man stand between Nik Pek and a 20+-point game?
Andy G: Wolves at Memphis tonight (5:00 CST, My29 for TV; 830 WCCO for radio) where they’ll face a Grizzlies team 13 games over .500. The Wolves? They’re 11 games below. Some big changes going on in Graceland that put the Grizzlies’ lofty standing in question. ESPN’s NUMB#RS guru, John Hollinger, joined the front office. Guess who’s no longer walkin’ through that door? That’d be you, Rudy Gay. Memphis now has Tayshawn Prince, whose extended, post-Aughts-dynasty stint in Detroit was the NBA’s version of an indefinite Gitmo detentionI. Seriously, what took so long for Dumars to find Prince a suitable home for a quality vet? In any case, he’s on a fringe Kahntender in Memphis now. He’s not exactly lighting the world on fire (9.3/3.3/3.5 in last 4 games) but we know he can play and he’s a gap-filler between a quick and feisty backcourt and big and bruising frountcourt.
Enough beating around the bush: Do the Wolves stand a chance of winning this game?
Patrick J: The Wolves stand a chance, but it’ll be a tough-fought win if it’s gonna come out in the Wolves’ favor. The big thing, to me, is the Gasol-Pekovic matchup. The Wolves have been able to rely – and need to rely – on Pek as their one consistent scoring threat throughout this tough stretch. But tonight, Pek gets the Gasol treatment. That means an extra-strength dose of pain for most opposing centers. And their backcourt is great at defense too. Mike Conley and Tony “000G” Allen make the lives of their oppenents miserable on a nightly basis. So Rubio, Luke, Shved & co, will have their work cut out for them. (Eds. Note: Allen has an excellent Twitter account, found here.)
So this leads to the next issue (assuming you agree) – can the Wolves get enough punch from Gelabale and/or D. Williams tonight to give them a shot in case our usual first options struggle?
RANT-STYLE GAME WRAP
Zach Randolph’s supporting cast outplayed Kevin Love’s supporting cast at Memphis, tonight, winning by 5 after a meaningless Beasley three beat the buzzer. The game was never close, yet never a blowout. It was the worst kind of hoops watching where the action is ugly and disjointed, but the game always in enough doubt to keep you there in front of the tv.
Nobody quite knew what to predict for Minny’s first game of the season without its best player. In fact, PJ published two separate posts in anticipation and speculation on exactly how this should shake out. While the Kings are pretty lousy, they were coming off three consecutive wins and had big man DeMarcus Cousins playing the best basketball of his short career. To eek out a win, even if ugly and way-too-close for comfort, is impressive in Love’s absence.
First things first: How did they do at replacing Kevin Love?