A visit to Struggleville will be on tap for Wednesday’s Western Conference meeting between the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves. The injury-plagued Grizzlies have won back-to-back games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets to squash a three-game losing streak. Minnesota, on the other hand, is coming off a 96-88 victory at home over the San Antonio Spurs.
Grizzlies showing resilience in another tough seasonEvery day gets the Grizzlies another step closer for the long-awaited return of the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant. He has been nursing a sprained ankle, and he recently teased a workout in a shootaround ahead of the Grizzlies’ first meeting with the Cavs.
In only three games this season, the star guard is averaging a team-high 26.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Along with Morant, the Grizzlies are also awaiting the debut of Justise Winslow, who was acquired in a trade last February. He has been sidelined with an injured hip that stems all the way back to July 2020.
There’s still some eagerness to find out exactly how good the Grizzlies can be when all of their pieces are on the floor together. Unfortunately for Memphis, that day won’t come in time for Wednesday’s meeting with the Timberwolves.
The Grizzlies have shown some resilience in their ability to string together a couple of wins after dropping three consecutive losses. They’ll try to extend their current win streak to three games against a Timberwolves team that could have Karl-Anthony Towns back on the floor. His return would create all sorts of problems for the Grizzlies’ front court. Not only is he an elite defender, but he can also be a prolific scorer with the ball in his hands. Slowing him down will be a huge test for Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas. Memphis is ranked third in the entire league in defensive efficiency, and they’ll have an opportunity to show why against Minnesota’s 22nd-ranked scoring offense.
Speaking of scoring, Memphis will be basically visiting an all-you-can-eat basket buffet against the Timberwolves. They are allowing an average 118.8 points per game with opposing teams shooting 48.6 percent from the floor against them. Dillon Brooks and company should be able to feast in this game.
Timberwolves erring on the side of caution with TownsMany wondered what happened to star center Karl-Anthony Towns in the second part of the Timberwolves’ weekend-long doubleheader against the Spurs. After returning from a wrist injury on Saturday, the Timberwolves’ big-man was nowhere to be found on Sunday. It seems as if the team opted to sit him in an effort to manage his workload. The former two-time NBA All-Star is expected to be back on the floor in a full-time role for Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies.
That’s the first major sigh of relief the Timberwolves can breathe.
The second comes with the matchup against a Grizzlies team that hasn’t looked great offensively. Maybe the Timberwolves’ atrocious defense can finally catch a break. Granted, they hope their defense improves to some degree with Towns back on the floor. It obviously can’t get any worse than it is right now with the team having the third-worst defense in the league in efficiency. Even with a losing record, it would be pretty embarrassing to see them get lit up by the starless Grizzlies.
The game could come down to Minnesota’s ability to assert themselves more on the offensive end of the floor. That’s the only rational response to playing bad on defense. So far they haven’t even been able to do that right, and they’ll be facing a Grizzlies team that can still lock things down without their best player. D’Angelo Russell, along with Towns, will need a star caliber performance to fend off Memphis.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Grizzlies are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS win.
- Grizzlies are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Grizzlies are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a losing straight up record.
- Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
- Timberwolves are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days’ rest.