WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: FOX Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis- Mike Conley (out, achilles), Chandler Parsons (out, knee and ankle), Wayne Selden (out, quad), Brandan Wright (questionable, groin)
Minnesota- Nemanja Bjelica (out, foot)
Memphis- Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
Minnesota- Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Karl-Anthony Towns
The Grizzlies are desperate for a win. They have actually been desperate for quite a while now. There is no need to comment on all of the depressing issues that this organization is going through right now. We know all of them, we’ve heard them a thousand times.
Let’s just get a win.
Just one win.
Unfortunately, Memphis is going through an extremely tough part of their schedule right now. Coming off the back of a double-header against the Spurs and an away game in Cleveland, the Grizzlies face off against an extremely talented Timberwolves team. It is going to take 40-plus minutes of defensive focus and an above average shooting night to top Minnesota, which unfortunately due to injuries and consistent poor performances is far more unlikely than it is likely.
Grizzly fans have not experienced a win at FedExForum in over a month. How can the Grizzlies end their 11 game losing streak and give Grizzlies fans something to be happy about tonight?
We’ve heard Marc Gasol express his frustration with this team’s defensive performances game after game during this losing streak. He never singles out a certain player or talks about lack of ability or athleticism on the roster, it is usually him harping on effort, concentration, and defending as a unit.
With a clear lack of offensive firepower on this roster, especially with Mike Conley on the sideline, it is paramount to this team’s success that they continue to focus on their defensive habits. Lately, opposing teams have not had to work hard for good looks against the Grizzlies. Almost every possession there seems to be a defensive lapse, whether it be lack of focus or lack of effort, from at least one player on the court. You have to be a really talented offensive team in order to have bad defensive habits and still be a good NBA team.
The Grizzlies are obviously not a good offensive team, so their focus on the defensive end needs to be much greater if they want any kind of chance at turning this season around. Good team defense leads to better offensive opportunities through transition, as well as by feeding off of the energy of a stop. Memphis needs to learn again how to feed off of defensive energy.
The Timberwolves come into this game with the 5th highest offensive rating in the NBA. It is going to take a concerted effort from Memphis on the defensive end to communicate and be locked in on every possession. This defense needs to move as a unit and contain the Wolves’ star players if they want a chance to win this game.
The Grizzlies most gifted scorers need to have an efficient night from the field in order to hang around with the potent Wolves offense. Surprisingly, Tom Thibodeau has not been able to shape his team up defensively this year. The T-Wolves have been getting scored on at a pretty high clip, and hopefully Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans can take advantage of that and have good scoring nights.
Memphis has to have a good offensive game tonight, they just don’t have the talent to play mediocre and still be in the game against good teams, as we’ve seen against San Antonio and Cleveland recently.
A fair amount of things must go right for the Grizzlies to pull off a win tonight. They have to contain 2 out of 3 players between Butler, Towns, and Wiggins. They need to have big scoring nights from Gasol and Evans. They need great energy and productivity from role players like Dillon Brooks and JaMychal Green.
I don’t think all of these things will happen. The Grizzlies are so damaged with injuries, negative energy, and instability right now, I don’t see them beating a more talented Wolves team given the current situation.
Minnesota 117, Memphis 109