UPDATE: (1/4 @1:10pmCT): Zach Randolph will be out up to eight weeks after tearing his MCL. Apparently it was much more serious than previously thought AND is the reason the Grizz are involved in the trade below.
UPDATE (1/4 @1:00pmCT): The Grizzlies have agreed in principle to a deal that will send Philadelphia's big man Marreese Speights to Memphis. Two second 2nd Rd. picks go to Philadelphia and the New Orleans Hornets get Xavier Henry. Obviously if the deal goes through by tonight, the Grizzlies won't have Speights for the game, but obviously their backup swingman Henry won't be playing either.
UPDATE (1/3 @11:10pmCT): The Grizzlies improved to 2-3 on the season after defeating the Sacramento Kings 113-96 at home on Tuesday night. They were led by two of their small forwards. Starter Rudy Gay tallied 23pts, 8rebs, 2ast in 35 minutes and off the bench Sam Young contributed 20pts, 7rebs and 3 steals in 28 minutes. Mike Conley didn't start, but unexpectedly played after head coach Lionel Hollins said before the game he wouldn't be playing. He came off the bench for 23 minutes and had 14pts, 7ast and 4 steals. Zach Randolph didn't play, but a report says the MRI came back with no problems, he's now just listed as day-to-day with a knee injury, sounds like he'll be a gametime decision for tomorrow's game (1/4). Xavier Henry didn't play either with an ankle sprain and backup center Hamed Haddadi didn't play tonight either: for personal reasons. Dante Cunningham got the start in Z-Bo's place, good chance we'll see that again against the Wolves. O.J. Mayo also had a solid night off the bench, with 16pts, 4rebs, 2ast in 20 minutes.
The Timberwolves had a well-deserved Tuesday off, after winning back-to-back wins versus the Mavericks & the Spurs in back-to-back days! The Timberwolves now improve to 2-3 on the season and have a chance to get to .500 on the season. It'll also be the first time since January 29-February 6, 2010 for the Wolves to go on a three-game winning streak. During that stretch in 2010, the Timberwolves won four in a row vs. the Clippers, Knicks, Mavericks & Grizzlies!
The TWolves are beginning to resemble a real team! The Wolves will no longer be overlooked OR looked at as an easy win! After delivering two losses to two of the top teams in the Western Conference and those three losses were never by more than 4 points--the Wolves are becoming must-watch basketball!
The TWolves will be facing a Western Conference foe--in the Memphis Grizzlies. One of last year's most enjoyable teams to watch in the postseason, however this year the Grizzlies are off to a slow start: 1-3 on the year! They do have a game tonight (1/3) vs. the Kings at 7pmCT, I'll likely watch a bit of that one and provide an update on this post about the results!
Obviously if two of the Grizzlies' starters can't play vs. the TWolves (Z-Bo & Conley) it'll be a huge advantage for Minnesota! I do hope Randolph can go though, Love vs. Z-Bo is ALWAYS a great matchup! Two double-double machines going head-to-head is clearly the key matchup! On the other hand, without Zach on the floor the Grizz lose 20 points & 10 rebounds.
Let's take a look at some key players for each team and what they're averaging so far this season...
The story for Minnesota: Kevin Love's consistent 22-25ppg & 15-20rpg. You can count on Love every game to grab plenty of rebounds and score plenty of points. His lowest scoring game this season, was the opener on Dec. 26th when he had 22 points. His lowest rebounding total this season, thus far, was 12 in the opener against OKC & the game vs. Miami. Mr. Consistent, Mr. Double-Double! Get that man a max contract extension already KAHN! Michael Beasley is the complete opposite: Mr. Inconsistent! His first game saw him score 24 on the Thunder, then it was 15 vs. Milwaukee, 4 on the Heat, 8 against the champs (Mavs) & last night, with a cut up finger he dropped 19 on the Spurs! You never know what you're gonna get from Michael... Ridnour is obviously showing what he can do and showing that he's not losing his starting job without a fight! He's coming off his best game of the season dropping 19 points on 70% shooting & 9 assists on the Spurs. Ricky may not be starting, but he's definitely closing! His fourth quarter heroics with Kevin Love have made him one of the best Timberwolves' players off the pine. He's incredible passes and improved shooting are FUN to watch!
For the Grizzlies, clearly they're hurting from Rudy Gay's performance thus far. His shooting percentages are all VERY low. However, that just means he's out to prove he can still play coming off that shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. There big men are playing well however! Gasol is picking up where he left off in last year's postseason performance. Great defense, blocking shots & picking pockets, high percentage from the field & from the line. Playing well in all faucets for the Grizz.
The Timberwolves are just a 0.5-game out of a playoff spot in the West! Clearly far too early for playoff talk, but it's "cool" nonetheless.
That's all for now, I'll be updating this post sometime tonight following the Grizzlies-Kings game tonight (1/3). Look for that! There'll also be a full gameday recap of tomorrow's game (MIN vs. MEM) on this site following that final horn! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!