WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, TN
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Garrett Temple (Doubtful, shoulder), Dillon Brooks (Out, toe), Kyle Anderson (Out, shoulder), Omri Casspi (Out, knee), Chandler Parsons (Out, confusion and eating money)
MINNESOTA: Robert Covington (Out, knee), Jeff Teague (Doubtful, foot), Tyus Jones (Out, ankle), Derrick Rose (Out, ankle)
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Mike Conley, Justin Holiday, Bruno Caboclo, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marc Gasol
MINNESOTA: Jerryd Bayless, Josh Okogie, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson, Karl-Anthony Towns
The Grizzlies are on a “win streak”. They defeated the New York Knicks Sunday afternoon in a game that likely set an NBA record for least watched game ever. And that’s as far as the win streak extends, but hey, in this season, we are grasping for positive notes. In other good news, since the win over the Indiana Pacers, the Grizzlies have had a chance to win the last four games (losing three), playing much better as the trade deadline approaches.
One of those losses was against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who Memphis will face again for the second time in the same week. If you don’t remember that game, you’re not alone, but it was an overtime effort in which both teams didn’t reach 100 points. Mike Conley led all scorers with 26 points, Marc Gasol led all players in minutes played with 43. It was a game of poor shooting and bad basketball, but a close game throughout. For Tuesdays game, there are a few things to consider.
Prevent KAT from going to town
Minnesota is still holding on to playoff hopes, just three games out of the eighth spot in the West. Memphis is delusional about everything, trades included, but Conley and Gasol have undoubtedly played better since their names were put on the block. Karl-Anthony Towns has been selected to his second All-Star Game and is having another stellar season. The key to this game will be controlling that monster.
Gasol didn’t have his best game against Towns in the previous matchup, struggling on the offensive end in significant minutes played. Towns also struggled, in part due to Gasol’s defensive presence, but also just poor shooting. That helped to keep the game close. Andrew Wiggins also struggled mightily on 4-19 shooting. If those two can be wrangled and Mike and Marc play like they have the last two weeks, this game should be an easy win for the Grizzlies.
Mike and Marc leading the way
Nothing has come easy to this team all year, but as Conley and Gasol continue to try out for other teams while wearing the blue and white, this team has played better in recent games. With the emergence of role player Bruno Caboclo and consistency of JJJ, the team is growing more bearable to watch. Look for Conley to cook Jerryd Bayless and Gasol to find his shooting touch. Mike Conley has scored 20+ points in six of his last seven games played, averaging 23.3 points per game in that stretch. He is either showing out to increase his trade value, or trying to lure the Memphis front office to keep him. Either way, he has been fun to watch.
Its tough to predict anything with this Grizzlies team, it feels like throwing a dart at a dart board in the dark with a blind fold on, backwards. These teams are pretty evenly matched in terms of talent and size. If the game is close down the stretch, Memphis will undoubtedly struggle to close the game out - there has been little evidence to suggest that Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff can stop any free fall. Since I expect this game to be close, I see a Memphis loss, ending the “win streak”.
Minnesota 104, Memphis 96