The Memphis Grizzlies made it back home for the last game before the trade deadline on Thursday. As rumors swirled all day on Tuesday afternoon, the Grizzlies had to focus on the game vs the Minnesota Timberwolves, a very winnable game for them and the Grizzlies are still only a few games outside of the 9th spot to send the first round draft pick to the Boston Celtics this year.
The Grizzlies would start behind even before the tip as they only had 7 players that were active that were not on a two way contract and one of those players was a ten day player. Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, Omri Casspi, Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, Joakim Noah, Chandler Parsons (obviously), and Garrett Temple were all inactive for the Grizzlies against the Timberwolves. What looked like a winnable game when the day started on Tuesday got a lot harder when it came time to actually play the game.
The Grizzlies came out firing though and got out to a quick 8-0 lead after just a few minutes in the game. Jaren Jackson Jr had 5 of the Grizzlies 8 points and was extremely active in the game. Ivan Rabb was having a great game to start as well racking up 4 points and 3 rebounds in just 5 minutes of action helping the Grizzlies out to a 16-2 lead over the Timberwolves. The Grizzlies continued their fantastic play behind their young guys throughout the first quarter, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ivan Rabb combined for 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists and the Grizzlies lead by 13 points.
The second quarter started with Jevon Carter coming in to run the point guard spot alongside Shelvin Mack. The Grizzlies played good defense thus far into the game, but they started to slip with about 8 minutes left in the second allowing the Timberwolves to cut the deficit to single digits. Mike Conley came back into the game to help settle the younger players down and provide some much needed scoring. The adrenaline wore off for the kids of the Memphis Grizzlies and after a Karl Anthony Towns bucket the lead was down to just 1 point. After that is was a much closer game as both teams settled in to the game. The Grizzlies started to play better defense to close the half but three triples by Mike Conley in the last few minutes of the half put them back up 66-54.
Both teams came out of halftime very rusty and few buckets were scored the first four minutes of the third quarter. Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins would not let that happen for long as they helped the Timberwolves close the gap to just 5 points forcing Memphis to take a timeout. They came out of the timeout looking to get the ball in the paint and back to their bigs like they had done so well in the first half. Jaren Jackson Jr. played out of his mind, making threes, rebounding the ball, assisting, literally everything you could ask the rookie to do, and still helping Memphis to continue to push the lead. The Grizzlies had trouble down the stretch of the third quarter with Luol Deng, letting him score at will and help the Timberwolves close the gap to just two points.
Yuta Watanabe caught a lob from Mike Conley just like you would expect to start the last quarter of the game. Almost immediately after that, Yuta hit a corner three to ignite the crowd at FedEx Forum and force the Timberwolves into a timeout. Young players sometime play reckless which is what happened for the Grizzlies in the middle part of the fourth, but after the time out, they came back with Mike Conley to hopefully put the game back on track. Mike was able to get to the basket and score and set other players up as well to push the lead back to 10 points with just under five minutes left to play. Even with Mike Conley helping the Grizzlies could not stop the barrage of three pointers that was being unleashed by the Timberwolves. The were up by two late in the game, Jaren Jackson Jr. went to the line to push the lead to four but missed both free throws but the Grizzlies had two game saving blocks on defense the very next possession. Mike Conley then turned it over to give the Timberwolves a chance to tie the game with just 25 seconds left in the game. Karl Anthony Towns made two free throws to tie the game and the Grizzlies had the ball with 15 seconds left in the game. Mike Conley had a great look at a game winning three but missed, Justin Holiday got fouled on the rebound and hit two free throws to seal the game for the Grizzlies.
- The young kids are fun to watch, and its going to be super fun when Jaren Jackson has unlimited minutes and touches to see what he can really do.
- Mike Conley. Still very good at basketball.
- Ivan Rabb and Jaren Jackson Jr. should start together the rest of the year.