- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (5-7) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8-4)
- When: 8:30 PM CST
- TV: ESPN
- Radio: 830 WCCO-AM
- Line: Wolves +4 | Total: 233.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
What to Watch for
Who would have thought that would be the goal a couple months ago?
The Wolves will look to avoid falling behind by 20 points and losing for the third straight time on Friday night. Minnesota has dropped five of their last six games, and will try to reverse the troublesome trend on the road in Memphis.
The one trend they will not reverse, however, is getting booed for the third straight game. They did in their last two games at home, and will do so again on the road in a matchup where neither team likes each other. The last time the Wolves saw Ja Morant, he griddyed on the halfcourt logo at Target Center.
Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks griddy on the Timberwolves logo pic.twitter.com/srrGHzS4qo— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 30, 2022
Can the Wolves draw revenge? They’re certainly searching for it.
After the Wednesday night thumping at home at the hands of the Phoenix Suns in which themes stayed the same of discombobulated play, the theme from the players was a sense of urgency. A little bit of foreshadowing into this evening came from Anthony Edwards, who particularly struggled.
Anthony Edwards said postgame, "we gonna turn it around, don’t worry about it."— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 10, 2022
Edwards also said: "There’s no more time. The time is now. We got to get going. I think we’ll turn it around in Memphis, for sure. I think Memphis will bring it out of us."
So patience and urgency.
Memphis certainly brings it out of Ant. In his career, including playoffs, he’s averaged 23 points on a blistering 45% from three, including a 36-point gem in game one of the playoffs last season.
Why does Anthony Edwards enjoy Memphis so much?— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) April 16, 2022
"Because they talk so much trash. Even the kids. The kids was the worst ones. Even eight years old, 10 years old, ‘Anthony go sit down! You suck!’ It’s just fun. Basketball is fun to me. I love it."
Long story short, Friday sets up as a great opportunity for a 21-year old player that seems to have taken a bit of a confidence hit over the last few games. The Wolves always seem to get up for prime time games on national TV, and hopefully progress is a continued result.
Can KAT Shake the Demons?
Karl-Anthony Towns looked to be the series MVP after game one of the playoffs in 2021-22, playing Steven Adams off the floor for the rest of the series and forcing the Grizzlies to go small.
A few things have changed since then, and with Rudy Gobert now on the team, Steven Adams will very much so be on the floor for Memphis. However, Towns’ matchup may stay the same. With Jaren Jackson Jr. still out, Towns will likely see Xavier Tillman again for most of the night.
After the Tillman adjustment in the playoffs with the Grizzlies consistently doubling, KAT was inconsistent and didn’t seem to have an immediate answer. The perimeter defenders held, making the pass out to the perimeter a tougher option, and Jarred Vanderbilt was not a sufficient offensive option to be able to make the Grizzles pay for the double.
Perhaps the post-to-post dynamic can be advantageous, matchups can be hunted, and we see dividends from the all-in move made by Tim Connelly this summer?
As always, here are a three props I like for this evening. All lines courtesy of DraftKings SportsBook.
POINTS: Kyle Anderson O6.5 (-105), Dillon Brooks O16.5 (-105)
Believe it or not, Brooks is averaging exactly 16.5 points against the Wolves in his career. He tends to be a bit of a Wolves killer, and Minnesota’s tendency to leave shooters wide open bodes well for him, and -105 is good value.
Anderson comes back to Memphis for a revenge game, and 6.5 just isn’t that many points for the value. If the ball moves in the offense, and/or Jaden McDaniels finds himself in Chris Finch’s doghouse with sparse minutes, Anderson will have plenty of opportunities for three or four buckets, especially with his assimilation back into the offense after experiencing back spasms earlier in the season.
REBOUNDS: Dillon Brooks O3.5 (+135)
It’s insane at this point if guards crashing the glass against the Wolves is not on the scouting report. Brooks has eclipsed this in two of his last four games against Minnesota, and will certainly look for his opportunities against Minnesota to gain more possessions.
ASSISTS: Kyle Anderson O2.5 (+110)
Anderson is continuing to mesh into the offense and has plenty of opportunities with the ball in his hand. If you haven’t realized yet, I think his return to Memphis is the game he “arrives” with Minnesota and shows what he can do in a more expanded role, and not on a minutes restriction.