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Grizzlies 116, Wolves 108: Grit & Grounded

Minnesota started hot, but once again failed to close things out down the stretch.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

A slight scheduling hiccup for us here at Canis is going to force this recap to be relatively short, and if we’re being honest, that’s probably a good thing.

The Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 116-108 on Thursday night, despite a fiery first half from Anthony Edwards. The Wolves’ young star paced Minnesota with 25 points in the first 24 minutes, hitting shots from all over Broadway Street:

After a sluggish start against the New Orleans Pelicans, Edwards clearly came to play on Thursday against Memphis, attacking the rim at will and punishing his defender whenever he gave ANT too much room beyond the arc. Unfortunately, things cooled for ANT severely in the second half, with Edwards scoring only 5 more points, finishing the night with 30 points on 9-of-20 shooting.

The only other Timberwolves players worth mentioning on Thursday were Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, who combined to drop 54 points on 22-of-36 from the field. D’Lo has clearly found his shooting stroke as of late, which is a great sign for this team as they embark on another difficult stretch in their schedule.

The story of the night (at least in my opinion) was the disastrous performance by Minnesota’s bench. The Wolves entire bench was outperformed by the Grizzlies’ reserve Jon Konchar in points (15-11), rebounds (17-13), and made threes (3-2).

Yes, Jaylen Nowell did miss the game with a sore ankle that he suffered against the Pelicans, but that still doesn’t excuse the lack of production delivered on Thursday by guys like Naz Reid, Jaden McDaniels, and Malik Beasley. For the Timberwolves to take that next step this season, they need more guys that they can rely off the bench night in and night out.

Again, not too much to draw from this result if you’re a Minnesota fan, but it should be at least mentioned that the Grizzlies are one hell of a team and are a thrill to watch. The edge that they play with is awesome and they rarely back down to teams when they get punched in the mouth. Fun stuff.

Back to the Wolves — as I tweeted late Thursday night, this Memphis game was Exhibit A for those who believe Minnesota should be buyers moving forward. The NBA Trade Deadline is February 10, so there’s still plenty of time to address some of these issues, but the Wolves have to find more consistent and stable production off their bench to match nights like this when their opponent’s reserves play at such a high level.

Frustrating stuff on Thursday against Memphis, and now the Wolves will have two days to let it marinate before returning home on Sunday to host Andrew Wiggins and the Golden State Warriors.