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Playoff Game Preview #4: Grizzlies at Wolves

Minnesota will look to even the series at 2-2 as they welcome the Grizzlies back to Target Center.

Memphis Grizzlies v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Three Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Memphis Grizzlies (2-1) at Minnesota Timberwolves (1-2)
When: 9:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North (also broadcast on ESPN)
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves +3 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

What To Watch For

The Minnesota Timberwolves are back in action tonight as they look to even their playoff series with the Memphis Grizzlies. After an epic collapse on Thursday, a game in which Minnesota saw TWO leads of 20+ points get erased in the same night, the Wolves will look to bounce back and send the series back to Memphis, Tennessee tied at 2-2.

If Minnesota is indeed going to even things up, they will need a big game from Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored just eight points on a career-low four shot attempts on Thursday. While KAT has mentioned multiple times throughout the postseason that he’s trying to make the right play every time (especially when the double comes... which it does early and often), the fact remains that Memphis doesn’t really have a true answer for Towns, and because of that the Wolves will need more shot attempts, more points, and more overall impact.

It’s not just KAT who will need to have a big game tonight — Minnesota will need better performances from basically everyone up and down the roster, including Jaden McDaniels, Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Naz Reid, and even head coach Chris Finch.

Speaking of Finchy — he mentioned during shootaround on Saturday morning that he regretted not calling a timeout on Thursday during one of the many Memphis runs, which ultimately led to a lot of national criticism postgame towards the second year coach.

As I wrote late Thursday night, as frustrating as the Game 3 collapse was, it also was a pivotal moment in the careers of a lot of young players AND coaches on the Timberwolves roster to learn from their mistakes and simply get better. It’s extremely unfortunate that it had to happen that way, no doubt, but those are the types of playoff scars that can ultimately alter a player’s career trajectory for the better (or for the worse).

How exactly will the Wolves respond on Saturday after one of the more crushing losses in franchise history? If this specific season has showed us anything, it’s that this young group of players — led by Chris Finch — is usually able to turn the page pretty quickly on a bad moment and respond. Just think back to that tragic Orlando Magic loss earlier in the season, a loss that was immediately followed-up by a signature victory against the Miami Heat. Or even earlier in the year when the Wolves got punked on the road against the Charlotte Hornets, only to then walk into Philadelphia the following night and upset the 76ers in double overtime.

My point here is this — while Thursday night brought back a lot of “old Wolves” scar tissue, this specific squad has shown a much stronger ability to bounce back in big moments than past Wolves teams, and that will be crucial on Saturday night as Minnesota looks to avoid falling down 3-1 against Memphis.

Injury Reports

All clear for the Timberwolves in terms of the injury report, which is great news after Anthony Edwards had that knee scare during Game 3.

As for the Grizzlies — Dillon Brooks was added to the injury report on Friday as QUESTIONABLE due to left foot soreness, which is something to monitor as we get closer to tonight’s tip. Brooks has been a thorn in Minnesota’s side both offensively and defensively, so his final status for Saturday’s game will be very important.

Prediction time — putting all fandom and homerism aside, I simply like Minnesota’s chances tonight. The crowds at Target Center during this postseason run have been insane, and with a super late weekend start time, I imagine the place will be extra hydrated and extra loud. Wolves 124, Grizzlies 112.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.