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Grizzlies at Timberwolves: Game #45

The Wolves host the Grizzlies at Target Center.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Grizzlies at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North

The Grizzlies are having a bit of an odd season. Their 25-19 record is good enough for 5th in the Western Conference, and yet they are being fairly significantly outscored on the year and hold a expected wins mark of only 18-26. They have achieved this by going 7-3 (by my count) in games decided by five points or less, while suffering several big blowout losses.

Their vaunted defense has taken a big hit this season, sitting 16th in the league, allowing the 8th highest eFG% for opponents and the highest FT/FGA rate in the league. While they still force the highest turnover percentage in the NBA, their ability to clamp down defensively seems to have taken a real hit this season.

Offensively, they, like the Wolves, are toward the bottom of the league in both 3PA and 3P%, and still rely heavily on their bigs along with Mike Conley to generate offense. Marc Gasol continues to lead the team in scoring, along with his usual passing skills, but is having an off year by his standards, mostly due to a poor shooting season. Zach Randolph is still effective in spurts but is clearly on the downside, and they lack any real shot creation from the wing spots.

Nonetheless they continue to hang in there and come in having won four in a row and eight of their last 11. They also have a win at Target Center already, an early season victory that lacked Ricky Rubio. My memories from that game include Karl-Anthony Towns getting pushed around early by Marc Gasol but coming back and holding his own later in the game, an uncharacteristic 9-17 from three performance from the Grizzlies, and a good offensive performance from the Wolves led by Zach LaVine's 25 points in only 17 minutes due to foul trouble. (Looking back at it, LaVine scored a bunch of points in the final minute of the game after it was already decided).

At any rate, the Wolves come in having lost two disappointing games in a row following their win over the Suns last weekend: A big blown lead to a mediocre Pelicans team and another overtime loss in Dallas without DIrk Nowitzki when it looked like they had the game in hand. While you can make the argument that they looked better over the last week than they had previously, they need to start putting some wins together to start feeling good about themselves. With games against the Cavs and Thunder following tonight, it's as good a time as any.

Expected lineups


Mike Conley
Courtney Lee
Matt Barnes
Zach Randolph
Marc Gasol


Ricky Rubio
Andrew Wiggins
Tayshaun Prince
Kevin Garnett
Karl-Anthony Towns

Our blogging buddies are over at Grizzly Bear Blues. Be excellent.