Shootaround Access: Wolves vs. Grizzlies | April 2, 2014

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies | 7:00 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

The NBA Playoffs don’t start until early May, but don’t tell that to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Dave Joeger’s squad has been in a playoff-like atmosphere for the last month of the season, hoping to keep up with the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks. The three teams are fighting for two spots. As of Wednesday, the Grizzlies would finish with the No. 7 seed.

“If you like competition, man, the Western Conference race is and it’s been going and you know it’s been coming,” Joerger said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround on the Target Center main floor. “It’s not like it just came up last week. For us we put ourselves in the hole at 10-15 earlier in the year and now you’re talking about in December, man, we’ve gotta get this one, that next one. We’ve been doing these games for a long time.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves are not in the playoff hunt, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a dangerous squad. The Wolves are putting up 106.7 points per game, a mark that ranks fourth in the NBA.

“You know, you let that team get in front of you and that horse can run so fast, you might not catch up with it because if they play free and loose offensively, teams like Minnesota, Denver, they are tough to guard,” Joerger said. “They run hard and they shoot and they have a lot of playmaking.”

Memphis is well-equipped to make this playoff run simply because the Grizzlies have done it before. The Grizzlies have made the playoffs the last three seasons led by Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

Gasol think that gives the Grizzlies a bit of an edge compared to teams like Phoenix and Dallas that don’t have as much experience together.

“Definitely. You know, it’s been a long time together. It’s a good process, it’s been fun, it is what it is,” Gasol said. “You can’t really change it. You have to go through it as a team and I think it makes you a better team eventually.”

Quick Hits

  • There were plenty of compliments being thrown around about former Grizzly and current Minnesota forward Dante Cunningham. Gasol, his former teammate, thinks he’s incredibly versatile: “Defensively, he’s a very versatile player, he can switch on the 3s and play the 4s. He’s very active defensively, real athletic too.”

  • Rookie center Gorgui Dieng will likely get the start for the Wolves tonight. Gasol and Joerger praised how he’s been able to stay prepared for his opportunity despite not playing early in the season. Mark Remme will cover off on that in his GameDay LIVE Blog later this afternoon.

  • Tipoff tonight is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.