What To Watch For
It’s been roughly 72 hours since the Minnesota Timberwolves
stole took Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, and now these two teams will reconvene tonight for the next chapter of this thrilling story.
I looked this up earlier this morning, but dating back to 1947, there have been 435 instances where a team has taken a 2-0 lead in their NBA playoff series. Of those 435 teams, 92.9% of them have gone on to win the series (I wasn’t able to break that data down by home/road teams going up 2-0, but I’d imagine the percentage of home teams that still won a series after falling down 0-2 is REALLY small).
I say all of that to simply say this — I firmly believe that the Grizzlies will play with a level of desperation tonight that the Timberwolves haven’t seen all year. You simply cannot complain about the lack of national coverage, lack of respect, and champion your playoff experience compared to your opponent and then drop two straight playoff games at home.
Under no circumstances whatsoever am I trying to set up moral victories or give Minnesota a pass for losing, but facts are facts — the Timberwolves already did what they needed to do in this series by stealing home court. The pressure tonight — specifically tonight — is ALL on Memphis to even up this series and send things back to Minneapolis at 1-1. If they stumble again and the Wolves take Game 2, that creates a situation where you have to beat Chris Finch and Anthony Edwards four times in five games, three of which are at Target Center.
Even for a team like the Grizzlies that takes pride in never bluffing, a scenario like that may ultimately force them to fold their cards.
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of Game 2 at Memphis:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) April 18, 2022
Prince - Right Knee Inflammation
Pretty straight forward injury report from the Timberwolves. Taurean Prince is once again listed as QUESTIONABLE (right knee inflammation); however, sources close to TP indicate that we will indeed see him suit up later tonight. The source? Taurean Prince himself:
Taurean Prince just told me, “I’m not questionable, I’m playing.”— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) April 19, 2022
As for the Grizzlies, their injury report is also pretty straight forward. Santi Aldama (right knee soreness) is listed as QUESTIONABLE and Killian Tillie (lower back procedure recovery) is OUT.
Prediction time — as I wrote over the weekend, I fully expect Taylor Jenkins and the Memphis Grizzlies to play with a sense of desperation tonight that the Timberwolves haven’t seen all season. After all, if the Grizzlies lose THIS game, well... I’m not going to say it but you already know. Either way, I think 7 points is still too much, so give me the points in what should be another close, competitive, and probably far more physical (and chippy) playoff game. Grizzlies 124, Wolves 118.
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