Final Score: Grizzlies: 100, Timberwolves 87
- Frustrating game for Minnesota. Memphis had their way with the Timberwolves, and Minnesota played at the Grizzlies’ pace of play. The Wolves needed to stretch out the Grizzlies and play fast, they did neither, except during their mini fourth quarter run. Minnesota had chances in today’s game, but playing too slow early in the game proved to be the team’s downfall. For those of you who bet on sports, teams with a tendency to start slow at home are generally not great teams to wager on.
- Derrick Rose and Dario Saric were big bright spots off the bench. With Minnesota’s starters struggling with Memphis’ active hands, Rose and Saric provided energy off the pine. Rose finished with 18 points, and Saric chipped in 14, including three three-pointers in the fourth quarter. In a game that saw Memphis force Minnesota into their game, Rose and Saric were two bright spots.
- Towns can be effective without scoring the ball. KAT only had 15 points, but he grabbed 20 rebounds and played good defense, especially early in the game. This game proved that Towns can provide Minnesota a lot of value aside from scoring the ball.
- Jeff Teague was awful. Mike Conley did whatever he wanted to Teague all day long. Teague stopped the little ball movement the Wolves did generate, and he consistently drove into the lane when Memphis would consistently collapse the lane. While Rose was a big bright spot at the point guard position today, Teague had one of his worst games of the season.
- Gorgui Dieng has lost all of his remaining confidence. Dieng seems to feel like Minnesota needs him to score to be effective. However, if Dieng can rebound, set good screens, and be an efficient defender, that’s all the Wolves need. Dieng isn’t playing like himself, and if that continues, I would push to see Tolliver or Gibson at the backup center position.
- It’s time to respect the Memphis Grizzlies. With their win today, the Grizzlies now sit at 10-5, good for fifth in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies bully teams into playing their style of basketball, and teams can’t seem to figure it out. With Conley and Gasol back at full strength, it’s time to start paying attention to Memphis in the West.
- Marc Gasol was a pain in the side of Minnesota, especially in the fourth quarter. On the offensive end, Gasol posted 26 points on 8-13 shooting from the field, including 4-7 from three. Gasol practically closed the game, hitting three consecutive threes to put Minnesota away at the end. On the defensive end, Gasol kept Karl-Anthony Towns in check, especially in the post.
- The Grizzlies recorded 11 steals and 9 blocks, forcing 20 total turnovers on Minnesota. It seems like the Grizzlies beg teams to drive into the lane. Then, when guys are in the lane, their entire defense collapses and the opposing player is under major stress. While the entire NBA is shifting to a faster style of play, Memphis looks content on continuing to grind out wins in the West.