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Preview: Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves

 

The Memphis Grizzlies will look to continue the momentum towards the postseason that is moving like a freight train when they welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves to FedExForum tonight. The Grizzlies return home after dispelling of the New Orleans Hornets in fine fashion last night, picking up a 93-81 victory that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Trailing the Hornets by a game in the Western Conference standings, the Grizzlies went to New Orleans and delivered a major statement against a team that they will be competing with for positioning in the final three spots in the Western Conference. Never before have the Grizzlies looked as impressive as they did last night, especially when the magnitude of the contest is taken into consideration. Win and the Grizzlies would affirm that they were going to be vying for not just the postseason, but also a seed as high as the six spot. A loss would still leave postseason hopes in relative limbo with the Rockets no going anywhere at the ninth spot. Fortunately for the members of Grizz Nation, the former was true and the Grizzlies came away with a big win on the road against a division rival. Much has been made about teams not wanting to face the Grizzlies in the First Round, and last night’s game provides proof as to why. The Hornets are a talented squad led by their All-NBA point guard Chris Paul who knew the ramifications of last night’s game. To go into their arena and dominate in the fashion that they did last night offers more proof that the Grizzlies will be an extremely tough out for whoever they play in the postseason.

Here are a few things to watch for in tonight’s contest…
Lessons learned: Remember back to December when the Grizzlies were still dropping games to teams that they should have been able to handle on paper. Losses to the likes of the Washington Wizards and New Jersey Nets were frustrating and confusing to a group of Grizzlies players who clearly had the talent to play with the best teams in the league on a nightly basis. The calls for consistency were rampant, and seemed to be the thing that separated the Grizzlies from being a playoff contender. Those days are long gone now, as the Grizzlies have not lost to a team that is out of the playoff picture since a January 26 defeat at the hands of the Nets. The Grizzlies will look to continue this trend tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are flirting with the worst record in the league at 17-59. Expect the Grizzlies to jump on the Timberwolves early tonight and come away with a landslide win.

Stat of the night: Over the last 35 games the Grizzlies have gone 25-10.

Matchup of the night: The matchup to keep an eye on tonight will be at the power forward position, where Zach Randolph and Kevin Love will renew acquaintances. Randolph has made a point of asserting himself against the likes of Love and Blake Griffin who were selected instead of him for the All-Star game, and will look to further his argument tonight. In previous head-to-head matchups this season Randolph has outplayed Love, tallying marks of 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds compared to 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds for Love.