Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Game 5 Preview: Perfect Spot for Zig-Zag Theory?

Action Network analysts Austin Wang previews the NBA Playoffs Game 5 matchup on Tuesday, April 26 between the Timberwolves and the Grizzlies.

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Odds

Timberwolves Odds +6.5
Grizzlies Odds -6.5
Over/Under 232.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

This series is the gift that keeps on giving.

It has been awesome to watch these two young, talented teams duke it out back and forth. This has been one of the most entertaining series thus far and feels destined to go to a Game 7.

In Game 1, the Timberwolves came into Memphis and pulled off a dominating upset behind Anthony Edwards’ 30 points.

In Game 2, the Grizzles made switches on defense and responded back strong with an easy victory.

Minnesota returned home for Games 3 and 4 and appeared to be on its way to a 2-1 series lead. However, the Grizzles pulled off an epic comeback and outscored the Timberwolves 37-12 in the fourth quarter.

Many counted the Wolves out after their collapse. However, they were able to power back in Game 4 and squeak by with a one-point victory.

Tuesday night, these two teams return to Memphis tied 2-2 in this pivotal Game 5.

Can the Timberwolves shock the NBA world again? Or will the Grizzles prevail at home?

Let’s break down this crucial matchup.

>> Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.

Wolves Had Everything Go Their Way in Game 5

The Wolves showed a lot of adversity coming back to win Game 4 after the demoralizing meltdown in Game 3.

As expected, Karl-Anthony Towns had a bounce-back game with 33 points after only being held to eight points on four shots in the game before. In addition, he was able to be more disciplined with his fouls, only committing three fouls compared to five in each of Games 3 and 4.

Jordan McLaughlin provided a huge spark off the bench for the Timberwolves, as he scored 16 points and went 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. He hit many big shots to keep the lead steady as the Grizzlies tried to mount a few comebacks.

The Wolves’ second unit has not been as productive as the Grizzles’ bunch outside of this outlier performance, and they are really at a disadvantage in this area.

The Timberwolves were able to get to the line 40 times in Game 4, compared to 25 for the Grizzlies. To give you a comparison on this free throw discrepancy, it was 43-27, 32-28 and 31-23 in favor of the Grizzlies in the first three games.

In addition, the Timberwolves were also 18-for-36 from behind the arc in Game 4, the best mark of this postseason by far.

Everything went their way and yet, they only won by a slim margin.

Without the home court advantage, favorable whistle and expecting some 3-point regression to come into play, this could be a tough battle for the Timberwolves.

Grizzlies Expecting Big Game From Morant

Head coach Taylor Jenkins stated after Game 4 that it was the most poorly officiated game in his career. He knows a fine is coming for such harsh criticism of the officiating, but perhaps he considers it an investment on some more favorable treatment in Game 5.

Ja Morant was also vocal about his dissatisfaction with the referees and how it has taken him out of his element.

Morant sees his efficiency tick up during home games. His percentages are 52.3 FG% / 40.4 3-point % at home versus 46.6 FG% / 29.6 3-point % on the road.

I think we get a monster performance out of Morant after struggling for two consecutive games.

Second-year sharpshooter Desmond Bane was rather quiet in Games 1 and 2. He came alive in Game 3 with 26 points and seven 3-pointers to lead the Grizzles to the victory.

He followed that performance up with 34 points and eight 3-pointers in Game 4. His hot shooting will draw some more attention from the Wolves’ defense, and should open up more opportunities for Morant to attack the basket.

Jaren Jackson Jr. has made some key defensive moments in this series, but he has also had issues with foul trouble and cannot stay on the floor consistently.

He fouled out in Game 4 with more than four minutes left in the game. His awareness of game situations needs to get better if the Grizzlies want to perform at their best.

Xavier Tillman Sr. also got into some early foul trouble, prompting Coach Jenkins to give Steven Adams some playing time. Adams was heading for his second straight DNP had it not been for all the fouls.

There are no meaningful names on their injury report, so expect a full, healthy roster to try and regain the lead in this series.

Timberwolves-Grizzlies Pick

There’s plenty of back-and-forth going on in this series. Fortunately, there is a historically profitable angle that uses this as premise. Although the zig-zag theory can’t be blindly played, it can be played in certain situational spots, and this is a great opportunity.

Favorites by more than four points in Games 2-5 off of a playoff series loss are 145-107-10 (58%) ATS in the history of the Bet Labs database, which dates back to the 2004-2005 season.

Memphis is 18-9 (66.7%) ATS following a loss this season, per the Sports Data Query Language database at Gimme the Dog. The Grizzlies have been resilient when faced with adversity.

I expect the Grizzlies to win and cover here. They are unstoppable at home, and I think they will be the beneficiary of a favorable whistle and get a strong game from Morant.

I would play the Grizzlies at -6, up to the key number of -7.

Pick: Grizzlies -6