Game: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Memphis Grizzlies
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Odds: Timberwolves +4.5, Grizzlies -4.5
After an emotional triumph in the play-in tournament last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves were prepared to make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs. Until the Memphis Grizzlies came into the picture, that is.
Tonight, Minnesota travels to take on the Grizzlies once again in a rematch of last season’s first-round Western Conference playoff series. Memphis defeated the Timberwolves in six games before losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Despite being eliminated, Minnesota’s comeback soon after the midpoint of last season to win 22 of its final 33 regular-season games was still an impressive run.
The TWolves may need a similar run to break out of their recent slump. Minnesota has lost five of its past six games. On Wednesday night, Minnesota fell to Phoenix, 129–117. It was the second loss to Phoenix this year for Minnesota. The Suns beat the TWolves 116-107 on Nov. 1.
Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns will be the key to Minnesota breaking out of its present slump. The TWolves’ chances of defeating Memphis at home will depend on Edwards and Towns, who each average a team-high 21.3 points per game.
Memphis just defeated San Antonio by a score of 124–122 on Wednesday night. Ja Morant scored 32 points on 14-of-25 shooting to lead the Grizzlies. Morant scored the final five points for the Grizzlies, including the free throw with five seconds remaining that stopped an 8-0 run by San Antonio. Morant has six games this season with 30 points or more and is presently averaging 28.8 points per contest. Morant added five rebounds and five assists as Memphis won for the fourth time in its previous five games.
Desmond Bane has been on a tear recently for the Grizzlies. Over his last eight games, he has averaged 28.5 points per contest. Bane contributed 32 points to the victory over San Antonio. When Jaren Jackson Jr. is able to rejoin the lineup, the Grizzlies will become even more powerful. Despite missing time due to a foot injury, he has been participating in 5-on-5 drills this week.
Guard Austin Rivers and center Naz Reid are both doubtful for Minnesota tonight. Kyle Anderson, a forward for the Wolves, will play his former squad for the first time after playing for Memphis for the past four seasons.
Neither side has performed well against the number recently. In its previous six games, Minnesota is 1-5 ATS. Memphis is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games. Memphis is 4-1 SU in its last five games and 6-1 SU in its last seven at home. In its last seven games at home against Minnesota, the Grizzlies are 7-1 SU.
The TWolves are 1-4 SU in their last five games against Memphis. The TWolves are also 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against the Grizzlies. The Under has cashed in 10 of Minnesota’s last 14 games. The Under is 4-2 in Memphis’ last six games.
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