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Grizzlies at Wolves: Tank That for Data

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With only eight games left in the regular season, the Wolves will look to take advantage of their relatively easy remaining schedule.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Memphis Grizzlies (19-54) at Minnesota Timberwolves (42-32)

Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota

When: 7:00 pm CST (TV coverage on FSN)

Why: With the meat of their schedule finally completed, the Wolves will look to capitalize on a stretch of lifeless opponents.

When we last left the Wolves, they were getting housed in Philadelphia against the bigger, longer, and more defensive-oriented 76ers. Despite the 120-108 blowout (the final score was much closer than the actual contest), the Wolves came away from their quick East Coast back-to-back with a 1-1 record, good enough to keep them afloat in the ever-changing, wild wild Western Conference. Going into tonight’s slate of games, the Western standings look like this:

After a treacherous eight-game stretch against playoff teams such as Portland, Utah, Boston, Golden State, Washington, San Antonio, and the Houston Rockets, the Wolves finally have some light at the end of the tunnel. Only one of their remaining eight games comes against a current playoff team (Utah), and while nothing is official, a betting man like myself would push all his chips in the middle that Mr. Jimmy Buckets will be making his return for that “spirited” contest against Rubio and the Jazz.

However, before the Wolves can attempt to get revenge against Utah, they must focus their attention on three teams with a combined record of 62-157. The Grizzlies, Hawks, and Mavericks have all had disastrous seasons centered around “player development,” “youth movements,” and “DNP-Rest” (all terms commonly associated with Tankapalooza).

Tonight’s opponent specifically is on another level when it comes to tanking, having lost 24 of their last 25. To put that in perspective, the Grizzlies have won as many games since February 1st as Team LeBron James has in the All-Star Game. Tank that for data!

In the Grizzlies’ defense, they did lose their All-Star PG Mike Conley back in November to a heel injury, and since then have found super creative ways to rest their other star players (Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans) while also still paying one of the worst contracts in sports history (Chandler Parsons, 4-years/$95 million).

With that said, the absolute low-point of the Grizzlies season came last Thursday, when the Grizzlies lost to the Charlotte Hornets 140-79, marking the 6th largest loss in NBA history. All-in-all, with the Grizzlies more focused on getting pingpong balls than getting buckets, the Wolves are in great position to play this team twice over the next two weeks.

With only a little over two weeks left before the end of the regular season, it’s time for Karl-Anthony Towns and the rest of his alligator teammates to devour their weaker, less successful prey.

Expected Starting Lineups

Minnesota Timberwolves
PG - Jeff Teague
SG - Andrew Wiggins
SF - Nemanja Bjelica
PF - Taj Gibson
C - Karl-Anthony Towns

Memphis Grizzlies
PG - Andrew Harrison
SG - Dillon Brooks
SF - Jarell Martin
PF - JaMychal Green
C - Marc Gasol

Injuries

Timberwolves: Derrick Rose (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE and Jimmy Butler (knee) is OUT.

Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans (personal) and Chandler Parsons (knee) are QUESTIONABLE; Mike Conley (foot) is OUT.

Prediction: Wolves 112, Grizzlies 92