Wolves at Grizzlies
7:00 pm CST
The regular season gets back into full swing tonight, with the Wolves in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. The Grizz are a much different team than the Wolves saw in their last meeting, a win at Target Center. That game featured Shabazz Muhammad's biggest game of the year (25 points), KAT (6-6) and Wiggins (7-10) shooting the ball well, and Ricky Rubio posting a 15-6-12-3 steal one TO line.
That Grizz team featured a healthy Marc Gasol, as well as the recently traded away Courtney Lee and Jeff Green. The current Grizz will have none of those three, and it's unclear as of this writing if Lance Stephenson, acquired from the Clippers for Green, will be available tonight.
Overall, the Grizz come in with a 31-22 record despite being outscored on the season, a result of several bad blowout losses. They've been much better recently, however, going 15-6 after starting the season 16-16. One more injury note: Brandan Wright is expected to make his return tonight, none too soon with the injury to Gasol.
The Grizzlies remain one of the slowest paced teams in the league, and shoot threes nearly as infrequently as the Wolves, but their ability to dominate defensively seems to have disappeared as the team has aged. They still force the highest opponent TO% in the league, but no longer are good enough to consistently stop opponents from getting good looks.
The Wolves come out of the break on a relative high. They won three of four heading into the break, then of course got a lot of attention in Toronto, with Zach LaVine's dunk contest defense and Rising Stars MVP, and Karl-Anthony Towns winning the Skills competition. Hopefully that energy will carry over into the remainder of the season.
Sam Mitchell said he would "rotate" LaVine and Tayshaun Prince in the starting lineup, a plan that I can't imagine lasting long. I think most of us would like to see LaVine get at least a run of games as the starting shooting guard to get a sense of what that looks like. Meanwhile, the Wolves also have a shortage of bigs at the moment, with Pekovic still out indefinitely, and Nemanja Bjelica in the Cities trying to figure out the problem with his foot. I don't think Kevin Garnett will be available either as he continues to battle sore knees.
The bottom line is: Thank the gods basketball is back. We actually have games to watch. 28 more left until the off-season hits; let's enjoy them and make them count.
*Even more guess work involved than usual
Our blogging buddies are over at Grizzly Bear Blues. Be excellent.
No pics, gifs, links to illegal streams.
Enjoy the game. Chat here. Go Wolves.