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Game Preview #66: Grizzlies at Wolves

With only a handful of remaining games, Minnesota will look to build upon their recent momentum.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Memphis Grizzlies (32-32) at Minnesota Timberwolves (20-45)
When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

What To Watch For

With only a handful of remaining opponents on the 2020-21 schedule, the Minnesota Timberwolves will look to build upon their recent momentum of — brace yourself — winning games.

As you likely know by now, the Wolves have been playing extremely nice as of late, winning six of their last nine games. While other bottom dwellers in the NBA standings continue to find new and innovative ways to lose games, Minnesota has decided to zag while others zig. This has ultimately affected their position in the standings that matter most to a bad franchise like Minnesota — namely the Tankathon standings — but as we’ve noted here at Canis over the last few days, winning games is actually a good thing. No, seriously.

Speaking of tanking — after tonight’s contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Wolves have two very important games against other basement tenants (the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons). Both franchises (along with Minnesota) currently find themselves in the bottom six of the NBA standings, and the results of these upcoming matchups could reverberate for many years to come.

Outside of their stops in Detroit and Orlando, Minnesota finishes the season with five of their last seven games against current playoff contenders (including tonight’s game against the Grizzlies). This enhanced strength of schedule to wrap up the season should give everyone associated with the Timberwolves — players, coaches, the front office, and even fans — a larger sample size of what this team could truly look like going forward.

As for tonight’s opponent, they return to Target Center having lost four of their last five games, which has plummeted them to 9th in the Western Conference standings. The Grizzlies recently got a boost with Jaren Jackson, Jr. returning to the lineup (more on him in a second), but a stretch of putrid defense for Memphis has resulted in them looking up at many of the teams currently in the playoff picture. The remaining schedule for the Grizzlies isn’t as difficult as Minnesota’s, with games against the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, and two stints against the Tyrese Haliburton-less Sacramento Kings.

Regardless of how tonight plays out, it should be a rather fascinating final two weeks in The Association.

Injury Reports

Pretty straight forward here for Minnesota — Malik Beasley continues to be OUT with his left hamstring injury, while Jarrett Culver’s recent ankle surgery has ruled him as unavailable for the remainder of the season.

As for the Grizzlies, Jaren Jackson, Jr. will sit tonight’s game out as he manages his recent return from a left knee injury. JJJ is a big part of the Grizzlies’ future, so it makes sense that they are being cautious with him as he returns from a significant injury. With that said, he’s a really fun player to watch so it’s a bummer that he won’t be out there tonight at Target Center.

Have a great rest of your night, be well, and go Wolves.