The Wolves are now 18-30 on the season and (without question) out of the playoff picture. Tonight's game puts them eight games out of the 8th seed and I think we can all agree, this current Wolves squad doesn't have a big winning streak in them.
The new-look Grizzlies were led by their two new additions in this one. Tayshaun Prince finished the night 100% from the field as he scored 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes as the Grizzlies' new starting small forward. Austin Daye came off the bench and in 25 minutes, provided 16pts on 6-of-9 shooting. The "Big Three" of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol put together some good games too. Conley added 16pts & 8ast; Randolph finished with 16pts & 8reb; Marc Gasol struggled to shoot from the field early in this one, but did just about everything else. Gasol finished the night with 9pts, 9reb, 8ast, 3stls & 1blk.
The Wolves were led by Luke Ridnour & Ricky Rubio. Both finished with 17pts & 4ast. Neither played in the fourth quarter--Adelman decided to rest them for tomorrow's game in Cleveland. Ricky continues to improve each night out, the Grizzlies allowed him a lot of open looks and dared him to shoot it and he made them pay, finishing 6-for-11 on the night, as such his assists totals were down from what we've seen these past few games though (finishing with his lowest total since 1/30 vs. LAC when he also had 4--also ending his streak of double-digit assist games at 3). Mickael Gelabale played a team-high 36 minutes and scored 14pts on 5-of-7 shooting (he also hit 2-of-3 from deep, raising his three-point percentage to 38% for the season--a team-high). Alexey Shved saw extended minutes without J.J. Barea and finished with 10pts & 9ast (he did struggle with the Memphis defenders, however--finished with 5 turnovers).
These two teams played to a near draw through the first quarter. This was thanks in large part to the whistle. The Wolves had a lot of calls go against the Grizzlies that saw them parade to the line for 14 first quarter attempts (unfortunately hitting just 9 of those, though). Clearly this wasn't going to be sustainable through the entire game and unfortunately Minnesota didn't make the adjustments to keep them in this one. Mike Conley got off to a hot start scoring 7 of his 16 in the first quarter, the Wolves were led by 6 from Pekovic.
The whistle blew less and less as the night went on and that didn't bode well for the Wolves. They managed just 17 points in the second quarter, while giving up 26--allowing the Grizz to a 10-point: 37-47 halftime advantage. The Wolves turned the ball over 5 times in the second quarter and went to the line for just 7 attempts. The Wolves also went 6-for-17 from the field and 0-for-4 from deep, while getting out-rebounded 5-14. The Wolves were led by 7 from Shved, while the Grizz got 6 from Daye.
Instead of moving on to the next 'track' the Wolves had the third quarter on 'repeat' and we saw much the same in the third quarter. They were outscored by 10 in the quarter (19-29) and continued to make the same mistakes. Memphis forced the Wolves into another 7 third quarter turnovers and out-rebounded them 5-7. Minnesota shot 9-for-16 from the field and 1-for-4 from deep. After attempting 21 free throws in the first half (14 alone in the first quarter) the Wolves didn't get to the line once in the third (they would attempt just four more on the night). The Wolves were led by 10 points from Rubio, while Tayshaun Prince caught fire for the Grizz in a 12-point quarter.
By the fourth quarter the Grizz held a 20-point lead and Rick Adelman pulled his stars (as they'll be playing tomorrow in Cleveland). The Wolves bench was actually able to cut the lead to 11 midway through the fourth, but Adelman left Ricky & Pek on the bench. They couldn't sustain that play and eventually lost 88-105. Luke Ridnour led the team with 9 and Gelly added 7, while Austin Daye contributed 8 and Jerryd Bayless added 7.
MISC. PLAYER STATS: Luke Ridnour tied a season-high with 3 offensive rebounds. Ricky Rubio tied a season-high with 6 made field goals. Alexey Shved also tied a season-high, this was his 12th game of the season that he's finished with 2 steals. Mickael Gelabale tied season-highs in threes made (2) and attempted (3), while playing a season-high 36 minutes. His 2 made threes also ties a career-high (for the 8th time).
The Wolves will be back in action tomorrow night when they take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland. We'll have a full gameday preview up by mid-morning, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!