The result of tonight's TWolves-Grizzlies game was the same as the last ten meetings between these two teams: a Timberwolves loss. The Grizzlies have now won 11-straight games over the Wolves and snapped a pesky five-game road losing streak the endured lately.
Despite Ricky Rubio's best efforts, the Timberwolves just couldn't follow up yesterday's Thunder win with another great encore.
The Wolves kept it close through three quarters and at one point in the first half even held a 12-point lead, but playing in the second night of a back-to-back certainly seemed to 'catch up' with the Wolves in that final quarter. After three quarters the Wolves were up 67-65. The Grizzlies then outscored the Wolves 34-19 in the fourth to strut out of the Target Center with a 86-99 victory. Ultimately this game was actually a lot closer than the final quarter
The Wolves just couldn't slow down the Grizz in that final quarter. Darrell Arthur scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, Mike Conley & Quincy Pondexter each added 7 to help put away the Wolves.
The Wolves were playing this one without Kevin Love (hand), Brandon Roy (knees), Malcolm Lee (knee/hip) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle). Pekovic was a late scratch, but he suffered a sprained ankle in yesterday's win over the Thunder. It was really unfortunate that Pek couldn't play as I was definitely looking forward to the center matchup vs. Marc Gasol. Nikola had his best game since coming back from his abdominal strain. Pek went for 22 & 15 vs. the Thunder and the Wolves definitely could've used him tonight. Without him the Wolves managed just 30 points in the paint and once again the Wolves' offense was disjointed. With no real low-post threat a stingy Memphis defense became even better as they could key on jump shooters and step in front of slashing Wolves.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Despite Pekovic being out in this one, Chris Johnson (the, then backup center) only logged two minutes on the night. The big minutes instead went to Greg Stiemsma. Greg played 40 minutes which is a new career-high. As you probably well know, I haven't been a supporter of Stiemsma this season, but I can't say he's been terrible in the last few games he's had to start for an injured Nikola. Do I want Greg to log 40 minutes a night, just so I don't view him as absolutely terrible? NO! If he's going to be back next season, he needs to find a way to be productive in those limited minutes, playing only 12-17 minutes a night.
Ricky Rubio was the star for the Wolves. He finished with a career-high 23 points while playing a season-high 40 minutes. He also fell just one assist shy of a triple-double. He was pulled from the game with just over one minute to play and had he stayed in he might of been able to grab his second triple-double of the season and of his NBA career.
The Wolves got just 20 points from their bench (some nights J.J. Barea can score that himself). The Wolves lost by 13 in this one and they left 11 points at the line, going 23-34. Too often that's been the story for the Wolves--leaving points at the line will almost always come back to haunt you in the end. The Wolves' 17 turnovers for 18 Memphis points is another backbreaker.
The Wolves will be back in action on Monday night at the Target Center when they'll take on the Boston Celtics. Stay tuned for the preview of that one, until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!