The Grizzlies are coming off a tough loss against the Utah Jazz in their last fixture. Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves, meanwhile, surprised the New York Knicks at home and got away with a one-point victory.
This is the second encounter between these teams. Their first matchup saw Memphis Grizzlies ride on Jonas Valanciunas' 24-point-16-rebound double-double for a win. Their second showdown was scheduled for January 16th, but it got postponed to May 6th due to COVID-19 protocols.
Fixture: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Memphis Grizzlies | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Friday, April 2nd, 2021; 8:00 PM ET (Saturday, April 3rd; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
To everyone's surprise, the Memphis Grizzlies have won a lot of games despite the lack of a bonafide All-Star. The whole team plays as a cohesive unit, with 7 players on the roster averaging nearly double digits in points.
Ja Morant leads the team in scoring and assists. He is the focal point of their offense and has the highest usage rate on the roster, given that he is their primary ball-handler.
Meanwhile, Dillon Brooks has elevated his game and is now tied for the second-highest scorer in the Memphis Grizzlies squad. In addition to scoring, the forward also leads the team in steals with 1.3 swipes a night.
Kyle Anderson has started most games for the Grizzlies this season. He has been doing a little bit of everything for them on the court, averaging 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals per outing. The team has listed guard Grayson Allen as questionable for the game due to a hip injury and if he doesn't lace up, De'Anthony Melton is expected to fill his role.
Key Player - Jonas Valanciunas
Many would argue that Ja Morant is the team's key player, but given Jonas Valanciunas' performance so far, the big man has had a bigger overall impact on the game.
Valanciunas is one of just 13 players averaging a double-double this season. He is recording 16.1 points and 12.6 rebounds per game — the third-highest rebounding rate in the league. Moreover, Valanciunas is shooting 56% from the field as compared to Morant's 44% and also has the highest PER on the team.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ja Morant | Shooting Guard - De'Anthony Melton | Small Forward - Dillon Brooks | Power Forward - Kyle Anderson | Center - Jonas Valanciunas.
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
After the Minnesota Timberwolves' season got derailed by a string of injuries, they are eyeing the highest pick in the upcoming draft. The Timberwolves could also trade a lot of their players for a host of assets as they look to make a significant playoff run next season.
As mentioned earlier, the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off an upset over the New York Knicks in their last outing. The Knicks have the 3rd-best defensive rating in the league while the Timberwolves have the 4th-worst rated offense. It was a mismatch bound to favor the New York side but the Timberwolves rallied behind Anthony Edwards' 24 points and Towns' double-double to win the game 102-101.
Key Player - Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards is making highlights this season with his flashy dunks and 20+ point games. He is one of the few reasons fans tune in to watch a Minnesota Timberwolves game.
Edwards has become the frontrunner for the 'Rookie of the Year' award ever since Hornets' LaMelo Ball got injured. He has been averaging nearly 20 points and 1.2 steals per game since becoming a starter.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ricky Rubio | Shooting Guard - Malik Beasley | Small Forward - Anthony Edwards | Power Forward - Jaden McDaniels | Center - Karl-Anthony Towns.
Timberwolves vs Grizzlies Match Prediction
The Memphis Grizzlies are the clear favorites to win this game, based on their current form and winning record. The Grizzlies have won four of their last seven games and are currently among the play-in tournament seeds.
However, the Minnesota Timberwolves just beat the Knicks. It wouldn't be unrealistic to expect them to carry the momentum into this game and pull off yet another upset.
Where to watch the Timberwolves vs Grizzlies game?
The Minnesota Timberwolves vs Memphis Grizzlies game will be locally televised on Bally Sports North and Bally Sports SE-MEM. The match can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.