Preview: Timberwolves at Grizzlies
Having lost back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, the Memphis Grizzlies will try to get back on track when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. The Timberwolves are coming off a 97-95 home win over New Orleans and are in search of their first back-to-back victories since winning four straight from Dec. 7-15. Memphis had won 14 of 15 before the two-game slide.
The Grizzlies fell flat at the offensive end in losing the last two contests of a four-game road trip, falling 87-80 at Denver on Friday and 90-84 at Utah on Saturday. They're eager to return home, where they're 25-8 and have won seven straight. It's the second of three meetings. The Grizzlies won the first one, 105-88 at home Feb. 10, and have won the past nine meetings overall and the past seven in Memphis. The Timberwolves are 7-25 on the road and have lost seven straight and 15 of 16 away from home.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), SportSouth (Memphis)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (23-41): Minnesota finally got some good news on the injury front when center Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) and forward Andrei Kirilenko (calf strain) returned to the lineup Sunday, and both made key plays late in the win over New Orleans. The one positive that has come from the rash of injuries has been the emergence of second-year forward Derrick Williams, who scored a career-high 28 points Sunday and has averaged 18.7 points over the past 12 games. Second-year point guard Ricky Rubio also has played well recently, averaging 18 points and 8.8 assists over the past four games.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (44-21): Memphis is on its way to the best season in franchise history and has played even better after the roster shakeup ahead of the trade deadline, going 15-5 since sending Rudy Gay to Toronto in a three-team trade that netted Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis. The Grizzlies are terrific inside with Zach Randolph (15.8 points, 11.6 rebounds) and Marc Gasol (14.3 points, 7.7 rebounds), but their identity is found at the defensive end, where point guard Mike Conley is the catalyst. Conley (143) needs two steals to break his own franchise record set in 2010-11 and has recorded at least one steal in 56 consecutive games.
1. Memphis has held its last 11 opponents under 80 shot attempts, the longest streak since Portland's 14-game run in 2010.
2. The Timberwolves are 21-11 when leading or tied after three quarters and 2-30 when trailing entering the final period.
3. The Grizzlies are 20-0 when scoring 100 points and have allowed opponents to reach 100 in only eight of 65 games.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 97, Timberwolves 88
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