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2022 NBA Playoffs: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves Game Four Preview

Grizz try to push Minnesota to brink of elimination

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2022 NBA Playoffs - Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (56-26, 26-15 away) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (46-36, 26-15 home)

WHAT: 2022 NBA Playoffs - Western Conference 1st Round Game Four (Grizz Lead 2-1)

WHEN: 9:00 PM CT

WHERE: Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: ESPN/Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

BETTING INFORMATION (per DraftKings): Memphis (-3), Over/Under 232.5

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Dillon Brooks (Questionable, foot), Santi Aldama (Out, knee), Killian Tillie (Out, back)

MINNESOTA: None

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr.

MINNESOTA: Patrick Beverley, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Karl-Anthony Towns


“Now can I get an encore, do you want more.” - Jay-Z.

How will the Memphis Grizzlies top their historical Game 3 comeback when they hit the floor for a late night tip in Game 4?

Well, they don’t have to and chances are, they won’t have to. On Thursday night, the Grizzlies erased two 20+ point deficits to steal Game 3 and delivered a gut punch that Minnesota may not be able to recover from.

The Grizzlies will return home for Game 5 next week — here’s what they need to do tonight to return up 3-1.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Punch Them in the Mouth

Well, not literally.

The biggest storyline of tonight’s game is how will Minnesota respond after that gut-wrenching loss Thursday night.

If the Grizzlies blitz the Timberwolves from the tip, then this series is a wrap. The last thing the Grizz need is for Minnesota to get some confidence back.

The Timberwolves have been able to get off to fast starts in both Game 1 and Game 3. The Grizzlies were never able to get over that hump in the first game that they were able to just demolish on Thursday.

The Timberwolves have some guys in Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell who if they get that confidence after a fast start, the Grizzlies could very well find themselves in a similar situation they did on Thursday. But, as long as the Grizzlies control the tempo, it will not get out of hand in the T-Wolves favor.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Exploit the Depth Discrepancy

This series the Grizzlies have shown the basketball world something we already knew — the Grizzlies have one of, if not the deepest team in the league. Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has done a great job with the rotations to get the Grizzlies in position to win.

There aren’t many teams in the league that can take a guy who started 75 games in the regular season and have him play ZERO minutes in a game and actually be better — at least in this matchup.

That’s exactly what the Grizzlies are doing because they have guys like Kyle Anderson and Brandon Clarke who match up better. Xavier Tillman Sr. also gave you some important minutes in Games 2 & 3. But, I don’t think Brandon Clarke’s play has been getting enough attention. He’s been crazy efficient from the field, while being a menace on the glass — 15.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 71% FG in less than 26 minutes per game.

The ‘next man up’ mentality has been in full effect this series and it’s going to be the thing that takes them as far as they go.

Crash the Glass

The league’s best rebounding team has outrebounded the Timberwolves twice this series — and both times Memphis won.

It’s not a coincidence. In Game 3, the Timberwolves held a slight rebounding edge in the first half, but the Grizzlies overcame that in the second half to win the rebounding battle. They had 5 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.

During the regular season the Grizzlies led the entire league in second chance points, and right now, the Grizzlies lead the playoffs in that category as well, including an average of 21 points in the last two games. So not only are they get offensive rebounds, but are making the most of the second chance opportunities.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Prediction

It’s hard for me to talk myself into anything other than a Grizzlies win in tonight’s game. I am also looking at the potential for a bounce back game from Ja, Dillon, and as long as he stays out of foul trouble, Jaren. If you get just 2 of those 3, the Timberwolves should not have a shot.

Even though Ja had a triple-double in Game 3, he was pretty hard on himself after the game, so I expect him to come out and prove something in this one. Plus, I don’t think the Grizzlies want to come back to Minnesota, so they will keep the foot on the gas if they get a lead early.

I think the Memphis Grizzlies cover the -3, but the total goes under.

Final Prediction: Grizzlies 117 Minnesota 105

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