Wolves vs. Grizzlies Gameday
Wolves vs. Grizzlies 7:00 PM - Target Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM
*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.Notable Injuries:
* Jonny Flynn (groin) - DAY-TO-DAY
* F Rudy Gay (dislocated left shoulder) is out at least four weeks.
Prior to the All-Star break, Rudy Gay suffered a partially dislocated left shoulder and Memphis will now miss its star small forward for at least the next three weeks. With Gay in the lineup, the Grizzlies were in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race but now the squad must keep pace despite losing their second leading scorer for the stretch run. Memphis continues to show improvement at 31-27 behind improved play from point guard Mike Conley and the double-threat in the post of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. To help ease the absence of Gay, the Grizzlies signed former Wolves high-flyer Rodney Carney, who played college ball in Memphis five years ago. The schedule ahead for this potential playoff bound club is going to get bumpy over the next month starting with two straight against San Antonio, then New Orleans, Dallas, Oklahoma City, the new-look Knicks, and Miami on March 12. This rough road of contests could determine the Grizzlies postseason fate as they attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Last Time Out
Speaking of a team playing without its superstar -- Denver hit the floor last night sans Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets didn't miss a beat by cruising past Memphis 120-107 and only suiting up nine players while the new members of the roster watched from the sidelines.
The Wolves jumped back into action on Tuesday with a road contest in Milwaukee. In a physical battle, Minnesota fell 94-88 even with the return of Michael Beasley in the lineup.
The Numbers Game
After missing five straight games due to a nagging ankle injury, Beasley hit the floor last night and drilled his first four field goal attempts and finished with a team-high 21 points.
Kevin Love vs. Zach Randolph
Tonight, Love will face two big brutes inside the paint as he directly squares off against the 6-9, 260-pound Randolph and tries to box out the seven-foot Gasol. These two Grizzles average a combined 20 rebounds per game, Randolph accounts for 13.1 in addition to 20 points per game. Randolph is enjoying another solid season just one year removed from an All-Star appearance in 2010. The Memphis big man will stretch Love out to the perimeter with his smooth left-handed jumper. He will also utilize his big frame to back down smaller opponents on the block to gain a positional advantage near the rack and shoot a high percentage hook. Love should benefit from superior quickness in the matchup but he has struggled in relation to his season averages this year. Only posting 12 points and 11.5 points per game against Memphis, Love must help the Wolves win the battle on the boards. If the Minnesota All-Star can establish a rhythm from the 3-point line, he will effectively move the Grizzlies' twin towers outside of the paint and open passing lanes for streaking Wolves.
What to Look For
Minnesota has not fared well against Memphis this season, dropping two games by an average of 19 points. The Grizzlies scored 52 points in the paint during the last matchup on February 2 with a heavy dose of Randolph and Gay. Watch for Beasley to get hot early and return to his scoring dominance and provide a much-needed off-the-dribble threat for Minnesota. Love searches for his 44th double-double tonight, which would tie Moses Malone's mark set in the 1982-83 season.
Anthony Randolph is expected to be at the Target Center following the three-team trade that sent Corey Brewer to New York. Head coach Kurt Rambis will make a decision if Randolph is ready for game action and over the next 3-4 weeks, the team will evaluate his potential role moving forward. Randolph is a supremely talented 21-year old with nice length (6-11) and could provide an athletic frontline option next to Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.