Grizzlies Grades: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies

Timberwolves 92 - Grizzlies 109

STARTERS

Zach Randolph : (A-) 28 MIN | 17 PTS | 7-11 FG | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 TO | +26

Wolves frontline had a sense of inevitability as Zbo got whatever he wanted down low without much resistance. He was also able to bump, grind and use his subtle hand checking moves to throw off Kevin Love's offensive game. With Randolph dominating his matchup against Love (that the Wolves absolutely had to win), the game went out of hand fairly quickly. A bonus 3-pointer, first of the season, capped off a great night for Zach.

Tayshaun Prince : (B+) 27 MIN | 12 PTS | 6-11 FG | 6 REB | +15

When Tayshaun is burning you on offense, you know you're in deep deep trouble. Grizzlies are 7-2 in 2014 when he scores 10 or more points, which means that any bonus offense from Tay will make the Grizzlies extremely hard to beat. We can't expect Prince to be this hot with his jumper too regularly, but if he can be selective and only stick to high percentage shots, it would go a long way towards making his world-class defense that much more valuable.

Marc Gasol : (A-) 27 MIN | 14 PTS | 6-13 FG | 12 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 TO | +11

Had a more-difficult-than-expected matchup against the Wolves rookie Dieng, started off really sloppy with his shot but came back in a big way after heating up with some easy hoops. Once Big Spain started taking his talents to the top of the key, there were no answers from any Wolves defenders as they were simply clueless on how to stop him.

Courtney Lee : (C) 21 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-1 FG | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 TO | +16

Plagued with foul trouble as CLee bought too many pump fakes from the Wolves players, specifically Kevin Martin (a big part of his forte). Took a back seat amongst the starting unit as everyone else were white-hot the entire night. Did a decent job of facilitating the offense as Conley looked to score the basketball.

Mike Conley : (A) 30 MIN | 23 PTS | 9-12 FG | 5 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 3 TO | +27

A classic Conley game where he used his drives to the basket to get himself going, then rained the long range bombs as defenders started to grow wary of his dribble penetration. Granted, the Wolves defense was absolutely atrocious the entire night, but Conley's evasiveness really helped to create space for the Grizzlies big men to operate with tons of freedom. Defensively, he completely dominated his matchup against Ricky Rubio, as he turned Rubio into a jumper shooter instead of a penetrator, not what the Wolves wanted to see at all.

BENCH

Ed Davis : (B+) 18 MIN | 12 PTS | 6-8 FG | 7 REB | 1 BLK | +1

Made an impact off the bench immediately as he simply carried on Zach's good work against the Wolves frontline. Got himself in good positions and caught the ball for easy finishes without any drama, Boss Man also cleaned up the offensive glass for several second chance points. It's ridiculous that Davis doesn't even get a chance to play regularly in this Memphis squad, looks more likely that he will eventually reach his full potential for another team.

Nick Calathes : (C) 17 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-4 FG | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 TO | -4

Came into the game early for Lee to form a dual-PG lineup with Conley, but nothing particularly eye-catching eventuated. Was extremely careless with the ball early on, as he simply gave one away during a sloppy possession. Once he settled down he was able to run the offense smoothly, but he has not been a threat from outside for several weeks. A great rookie campaign so far but will need to work on his consistency in the near future.

Mike Miller : (A) 18 MIN | 11 PTS | 4-8 FG | 2-3 3P | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 TO | +12

Here's a hypothetical scenario: Imagine yourself a fan of basketball but you've never seen or heard about Mike Miller before, you then start watching him play for the first time during the past few weeks. You'd think that he's a 27 year old baller in his prime and ridiculously awesome at basketball. Gun-slinging and creating space on the floor like no tomorrow, while skillfully driving the lane in setting up his teammates and rebounding well for an outside shooter. Why isn't he playing more? This is basically what we've been seeing, a prime Miller just like his first go-around with the Grizzlies. A truly awesome sight to behold.

Kosta Koufos : (C+) 18 MIN | 8 PTS | 4-11 FG | 8 REB | 1 BLK | 1 TO | +0

Typical hustle and bustle resulted in plenty of rebounds and opportunities close to the rim. A second straight game where he had some trouble finishing but will probably just need some minor adjustments to right the ship. Played the entire 4th quarter without looking fatigued so he's fit and ready to go for this crucial stretch run.

James Johnson : (C) 25 MIN | 4 PTS | 2-7 FG | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 BLK | 3 TO | -9

His first significant playing time since February has resulted in a pretty subpar game overall. Didn't really let the offense come to him naturally as he over-dribbled into plenty of trouble and made the Grizzlies offense stagnate. Probably felt like he was under the spotlight with the limited opportunities that he's been getting lately, hence the over-assertion with the ball in his hands. On a more positive note JJ was able to make some creative passes while helping out from the weak side effectively in swatting away shots. I do hope Joerger uses him on a slightly more regular basis so he won't be under this much pressure to perform while he's on the court.

Jon Leuer & Beno Udrih : (N/A) 11 MIN | 6 PTS | 2 REB | 1 TO | -7

Garbage time got extended to 6 minutes as even Calathes was shelved with the result beyond doubt. Leuer will simply have to remain professional and prepare himself well for his next opportunity for meaningful minutes, which he has done all season long, so there's no reason to believe he would hang his head on this awesome problem that the Grizzlies currently have with their crazy depth.

OPPONENT

Minnesota Timberwolves : (D)

Minnesota has had an almost-comical number of demoralising losses this season. They didn't have to worry about losing a close one last night as Love, Rubio and Co. were absolutely manhandled by the Grizzlies Big Three. If their two most important players aren't at their best, their odds of winning are simply stacked against them. The Grizzlies caught them at a perfect time, hitting them on a back-to-back where they just had their faint playoff hopes distinguished by the Suns on an up-tempo game the previous night. The energy level that the Grizzlies displayed could not be matched by the deflated Wolves. One bright spot has been the recent emergence of Gorgui Dieng. With some valuable playing time, he is quickly developing into a plus-player, if he can polish his offensive skills some more, he could potentially make Pekovic expendable, so they could use the extra cap space to re-sign Love and Rubio while acquiring a bit more depth in their bench.

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