Scouting Report: Wolves at Grizzlies

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Wolves (23-41) vs Memphis (44-21) — 7 PM FedEx Forum
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

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Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko are back from injuries, and they provided a needed boost as the Wolves beat the Hornets 97-95 on Sunday night. Tonight, Minnesota tries to keep their winning ways going against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. Tipoff is set for 7 PM on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

Memphis Breakdown

Before two road losses to Denver and Utah, the Grizzlies were on a 14-1 winning run dating back to Feb. 8. Memphis counters a 26th-ranked offense with their top-ranked defense, allowing a league-low 89.4 PPG.

Six-year Memphis mainstay Rudy Gay was traded out in late January, but the Grizzlies has gone 15-5 without him. Zach Randolph is averaging 15.8 PPG and 11.6 RPG, a good bounce-back year after his lockout- and injury-shortened 2011-2012 season. Marc Gasol puts up 14.3 PPG and 7.7 RPG while point guard Mike Conley averages 13.6 PPG. Acquired in the Gay trade was Tayshaun Prince, a championship-tested forward who scores 9.6 points per night.

Last Time Out: Feb. 10, 2013

Memphis newcomers Austin Daye, Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis combined for 38 points on 16-of-20 shooting as the Grizzlies cruised to a 105-88 win over the Timberwolves on Feb. 10.

Tayshaun Prince made a perfect 8-of-8 shot attempts, totaling 18 for the night. He matched a franchise record for most shots made consecutively.

Meanwhile, Luke Ridnour and Ricky Rubio each had 17 points for a Wolves team that had lost 14 of its last 17 games.

"We've got to take care of the ball," said Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham, who played in Memphis last year. "We let them get out in the open court. That is tough to get back on a team that is so aggressive. They took advantage of it, and it was hard for us to get back in the game."

Zach Randolph and Mike Conley each scored 16 for Memphis. The Grizzlies had the fast break advantage (20-4 points) and outscored Minnesota 50-32 in the paint.

Wolves Minute: Monday, March 18

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Key Matchup: Zach Randolph and Derrick Williams

With Rudy Gay gone, Randolph has slid into the top scoring role for Memphis. He’s got 15.8 points per game and has scored at least double-digits for the last 15 contests. The Grizzlies have lost their last two after going on an impressive 14-1 run; watch how the crafty Randolph works against Derrick Williams in the paint. Next to him will be Marc Gasol and Nikola Pekovic, so expect a tactical battle of big men tonight.

Fresh off a 28-point performance against New Orleans, Derrick Williams is more confident than ever. Once hesitant to shoot from long distance, Williams has made six 3-pointers in the last three games. With Kevin Love out, this is Williams’ chance to flourish at power forward on both ends. Can he keep the production high against a veteran like Randolph?

“I really felt like I’m getting a lot of my confidence back, and not just shooting,” Williams said after the New Orleans game yesterday. “A lot of people have a lot of faith in me as well. My teammates are looking for me to do things like rebounding or guarding two or three different positions.”

Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law

The Timberwolves got a big boost on Sunday night when Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic both returned from injury. Next on injury watch is Chase Budinger, who has been out since early November with a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. He’s hoping to return within the next week or two once he gets a couple practices under his belt. For the Grizzlies, power forward Darrell Arthur has missed seven games with neck and back injuries and is listed as questionable tonight against the Wolves.

 

Tonight's Probable Starters
Position Timberwolves Grizzlies
PG Ricky Rubio Mike Conley
SG Luke Ridnour Tony Allen
SF Andrei Kirilenko Tayshaun Prince
PF Derrick Williams Zach Randolph
C Nikola Pekovic Marc Gasol

 


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.