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Playoff Game Preview #5: Wolves at Grizzlies

The Wolves return to Memphis for a pivotal game five.

LA Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves - Play-In Tournament Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

In a postseason that has had some wild results, this particular series has gone largely as most pundits predicted. Neither team has managed to break away from a deuce situation, each responding to extreme adversity once already.

Let’s jump right into an all-important game five.


Game Info

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (2-2) at Memphis Grizzlies (2-2)
When: 6:30pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North (also broadcast on TNT)
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves +6.5 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)


Injury Report

What To Watch

  • After some arrogant complaining about the officiating in game four by Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins, many rightfully pointed to the overall foul discrepancy which has actually favored Memphis for the series. Many eyes will be on the Zebras tonight, for better or worse. The unfortunate truth about basketball: Referees will play a heavy hand in the result.
  • The biggest player to watch will still obviously be Karl-Anthony Towns. He has see-sawed between terrible disappearing acts and superb displays of dominance. No matter how he performs, mainstream media/TwittElon will be quick to disrespect him. I’m #TeamTowns and will be intrigued to watch him tonight.
  • The JMac vs Tyus battle will continue to be an awesome Spiderman pointing at each other meme, battle off the bench. If you look at their per 100 possession numbers this series, JMac averages 22.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 2.3 steals while Tyus averages 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 10.9 assists, and 2.7 steals. McLaughlin had the last laugh in game 4, but Jones very much had an opportunity to rip the heart out of his hometown team at the end of the game. I’m pumped to see these two tiny titans of basketball go head-to-head again.
  • Will D’Angelo Russell finally show up? He’s had a few moments here and there, including an awesome dime for a Vando dunk and a late clutch mid ranger that helped put the game away, but he has fallen very short of the 29-point performance he had in the play-in game. He was expected to be a huge factor for the Wolves after averaging 31 points per game on 55.8% shooting in the 4 regular season matches against the Grizzlies, but he’s now averaging a measly 13.3 points per game on a grotesque 30.9% conversion rate. Hopefully he gets loose for a big scoring explosion today.

Predictions

  • The aforementioned D’Lo and also Malik Beasley rain down 3s in FedExForum, combining to drill 15 triples themselves. We get the Wolves offensive explosion that we’ve all been waiting for since game 1.
  • Most Improved 2nd Year Player Ja Morant finally shakes off the rust for 40+ points. The key to his performance? Steven Adams getting regular starter minutes to set punishing “legal” screens all game.
  • The Grizzlies death knell: A stoppage occurs in the 1st half of the game as a protestor throws fake eggs with fake blood onto the court in protest of Glen Taylor. Thank you for your service. No humans or animals would be harmed in this display.
  • Timberwolves 136, Grizzlies 120 #WolvesIn6

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