The Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves resume their first-round series this Friday. Who gets the series lead?
Catch this game live on Friday, April 22, at 7:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Memphis Grizzlies (1-1/0-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Ja Morant
- SG: Desmond Bane
- SF: Dillon Brooks
- PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
- C: Steven Adams
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies let Minnesota know why they are the heavy favorites to win the series, as they destroyed the Timberwolves in Game 2 to the tune of a 124-96 score. It’s the largest winning margin in a playoff game ever for the Memphis franchise, but these Grizzlies aren’t here to make records. They are headed to the Twin City looking to clearly establish control of the series. The Grizzlies are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven trips to Minnesota. Moreover, Memphis has covered the spread in five of last seven games after a victory.
Morant posted a near triple-double in Game 2, racking up 23 points 10 assists, and 9 rebounds, giving him enough momentum for the first road game in the playoffs for Memphis. Jaren Jackson Jr. is also starting to become a problem on offense. After swatting away 7 shots in the series opener, JJJ only had a block in Game 2 but scored 16 points with four 3-pointers. After two games, it’s clear that the Grizzlies have zero respect for Minnesota’s interior defense, having scored 120 of their 241 points in the series of shots in the paint.
Home: Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1/0-0 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Patrick Beverley
- SG: D’Angelo Russell
- SF: Anthony Edwards
- PF: Jarred Vanderbilt
- C: Karl-Anthony Towns
With Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell all failing to hit their season scoring averages, it came as no surprise that the Timberwolves got dropped by Minnesota in Game 2. If anything, at least the Timberwolves got to steal a game in Memphis before heading home. The Timberwolves are 14-6-1 against the spread in their last 21 games following a loss. In Towns’ case in Game 2, he was only able to score 15 points, mainly because he only had seven shots from the field.
While he was still efficient with the ball, he deserves to get more looks going forward. So far in the series, Towns is making 60% of this shots. Edwards will have to keep on being aggressive, though, despite shooting 7/16 for 20 points in Game 2. As for their defense, the challenge to protect the paint against Memphis remains for the Timberwolves. A lot of that depends on how well the backcourt contains Morant from attacking the rim. It’s a tough challenge, but Patrick Beverley at least gives Minnesota a solid presence up top defensively.
Spread: Some adjustments here and there for the Timberwolves, but the Grizzlies still win and cover in Game 3 (-1.5).
Over/Under: The Grizzlies score at least 120 again, and with Minnesota playing in friendly confines, they should be able to gettheir confidence on offense back. Taking the Over (236.5)