The Grizzlies’ biggest first-round adjustment against the Timberwolves produced a Game 2 win and a change to their Game 3 starting lineup.
Memphis started forward Kyle Anderson in place of usual starting center Steven Adams in Thursday night’s 104-95 win over Minnesota. Anderson wound up playing 26 minutes and 28 seconds, while Adams did not see time off the bench as the Grizzlies rallied from 26 down for a historic playoff comeback.
The change came two days after seeing lineups with Anderson outscore Minnesota by a team-high 24 points in Memphis’ emphatic 124-96 Game 2 bounce-back win. Adams was the only Grizzlies player to sport a negative plus-minus in that contest.
The Timberwolves bludgeoned Memphis’ normally stout defense in Game 1, with All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns scoring at will. When Adams got into early foul trouble in Game 2, the Grizzlies shifted to a smaller lineup that moved Jaren Jackson Jr. to center. Towns scored just 15 points, Anthony Edwards shot 7-for-16, and Memphis never looked back after that adjustment.
The Grizzlies are hoping the move will help secure their first playoff series victory since 2015. The Timberwolves have waited even longer, not having advanced in the postseason since 2004.