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Grizzlies-Timberwolves Preview: Grizzlies look to swat limping Wolves

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
at
2014/15:
37-12 (16-7 road)
2014/15:
9-40 (5-19 home)
February 5, 2015
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Ricky Rubio
Courtney Lee SG Kevin Martin
Tony Allen SF Andrew Wiggins
Zach Randolph PF Thaddeus Young
Marc Gasol C Nikola Pekovic
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.1 (T-26th) Pace 97.5 (7th)
105.3 (8th) OEff 99.0 (27th)
100.5 (T-8th) DEff 109.4 (30th)
50.3 (T-13th) RebR 48.6 (25th)

Grizzlies vs Timberwolves coverage

Opponent's Blog: Canis Hoopus

Injuries

Timberwolves: Robbie Hummel (Out, hand), Shabazz Muhammad (Doubtful, Abdomen)

Grizzlies: Vince Carter (Out, foot), Jordan Adams (Questionable, ankle)

Previous Matchup

The Grizzlies beat the Wolves 105-101 on opening night behind 32 points from Marc Gasol and 25 points and 13 rebounds from Zach Randolph.   The Grizzlies' bigs simply dominated the Minnesota bigs in and around the paint. The athleticism of Thad Young presented a difficult defensive assignment for Z-Bo, as Young ended with 26 points on just 18 field goal attempts.  Overall, the Wolves stayed in the game by outrebounding the Grizzlies and converting 50% (6-12) of their threes, but Gasol and Randolph were too much in the end.

Points of Grizzly Emphasis

Opposite Ends Of The Spectrum

The Grizzlies are a slow-paced team, offensively and defensively efficient, and generally win the possession game by rebounding well (T-13th) and especially not turning the ball over (6th).   The Wolves statistically are at the other end of the scale, playing at one of the fastest paces in the league but inefficient on both sides of the ball, and additionally are poor rebounders (25th) and don't take care of the ball (T-20th).   This is typical of a young, athletic team, and the Wolves certainly are that.

The Hot Streak

The Grizzlies are 11-1 in the 12 games since acquiring Jeff Green.   While Green certainly has made contributions in this run, his average line of 12.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 41.4% shooting from the field and 31.7% shooting from 3 surely isn't the only reason.   Zach Randolph's double-double-laden return - and the Grizzlies subsequent return to dominating the glass most nights - has to be given a lot of the credit.  Still, Green has made some key plays, and his 91% free throw percentage thus far adds another reliable free throw shooter to end-of-game solutions.

Why you should watch this game

Andrew Wiggins is averaging 15.3 points per game en route to quietly running away with the Rookie of the Year award.  While Wiggins is far from a finished product, he's showcasing the potential that made him the first overall pick.   Add to that the Grizzlies are off to a fantastic start to the season, 11-1 in their last 12, and facing a team that played them close the last time out, and this is a game you should tune in for.