The Minnesota Timberwolves returned from a franchise-record 7-game road trip, in which they went 2-5 overall. They returned home Sunday and beat the division rival Denver Nuggets by 17, back at the Target Center.
The Wolves will now go on a 2-game road trip beginning Tuesday vs. the Grizzlies followed by a stop in Charlotte on Wednesday, before returning home to face Boston, on Friday.
Minnesota realizes they need to build on that W over the Nuggets if they want to climb back into the Western Conference playoff picture. Minnesota is currently sitting at 11th in the Western Conference. A win over the Memphis Grizzlies would be BIG! The Grizzlies are currently 6th in the Western Conference and are just 0.5 game(s) out of the 4th spot in the West.
Beating the Memphis, will be no easy task, however. The TWolves are looking to avoid a 10th loss in 11 meetings with Memphis as well as a 6th consecutive loss to the Grizz at the Fed-Ex Forum.
In the last meeting between these two teams, both teams were without their starting power forwards. Memphis was without Zach Randolph who was still out with that knee injury and Kevin Love was serving game two of a two game suspension (for that 'altercation' between Love & Houston's Luis Scola). Both will/should be available for Tuesday's matchup.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently 24-26 on the season, 11-14 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Memphis Grizzlies are currently 26-21 on the year, 16-7 at home and 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Let's take a look at the likely starting lineups for each squad...
PG: Luke Ridnour vs. Michael Conley (12.9ppg, 7.3apg, 2.4spg)
SG: Martell Webster vs. Tony Allen (10.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8spg)
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Rudy Gay (18.8ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.5spg)
PF: Derrick Williams vs. Marreese Speights (8.8ppg, 6.2rpg)
C: Kevin Love vs. Marc Gasol (15.5ppg, 9.6rpg, 1.8bpg)
Zach Randolph hasn't returned to the starting lineup since going down with that knee injury. These past few games he's been coming off the bench as the Grizz continue to pair Speights & Gasol in their fronctcourt.
The Memphis Grizzlies currently have no injuries to their players--or at least any that should cause them to miss Tuesday's game. The TWolves on the other hand...are really 'banged up'. Starting center Nikola Pekovic will be out until at least Friday. We found out yesterday that he has bone spurs in his right ankle that will likely require surgery in the offseason. Because of the spurs in his right ankle, he overcompensated with his left ankle and now both are hurting him. J.J. Barea didn't make the road trip (MEM/CHA) because of a thigh contusion that he suffered vs. the Thunder and didn't play vs. Denver, because of. Hopefully he'll be able to return on Friday, as well. Michael Beasley returned after missing one game (vs. OKC on Friday). He'll likely play, even though that toe continues to bother him. Lastly, Luke Ridnour said that his groin, back and nose have been bothering him and are all very sore, but he made the road trip and intends to play.
With Pek out the Wolves will likely go with that Derrick Williams-Kevin Love frontcourt that they have the past few games. Adelman likely won't switch it up, though I'm sure he'll question if 6-10 Love will be able to match up with 7-1 Gasol. With Barea out and Ridnour banged up, Malcolm Lee will likely get a good run at point guard these next two games. He played 14 minutes vs. Denver, scored his first 2 points and added 1 rebound & 3 assists.
The Grizzlies' last game was a 102-96 win over the Lakers on Sunday. Gay had 18pts, O.J. had 16pts and Conley added 13pts & 8ast. They were three of seven Grizzlies players that scored in double-digits. The Grizzlies had a 14-point lead in the third quarter that they squandered, but were able to pull away in the fourth quarter for the W. O.J. scored 12 of his 16 points in that fourth quarter. There was also some controversy as Mike Brown benched Kobe Bryant in that fourth quarter.
FINAL NOTES: The Memphis Grizzlies recently signed Gilbert Arenas for the rest of the season contract. He'll provide another scoring guard off the bench, hopefully he'll work out better than Allen Iverson did for the Grizz a couple years back......
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Fed-Ex Forum in Memphis, TN.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!