Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves might just have figured out a flaw in the Memphis Grizzlies' armor. And the Grizzlies are going to pay a heavy price if they don't figure this out quickly.
As pointed out by Rashad Phillips on Twitter, the Timberwolves are using Steven Adams' lack of mobility to their advantage in pick-and-roll. His inability to guard ball screens is giving away free points on every possession the Timberwolves run this play.
"So here's what's going in the Memphis-Minnesota series," Phillips said. "When you start to play playoff basketball, you start picking on the guys that have weaknesses. In this situation it's Steven Adams. ... He just doesn't have the foot speed to hedge against an elite scorer like Anthony Edwards.
"They’re hunting Adams. Anthony Edwards is the prodigal son of Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant."
Phillips talked about how the Timberwolves run this play.
Edwards brings the ball up the floor, and Karl-Anthony Towns sets the screen. Steven Adams can't defend the ball screen and goes into drop coverage to hedge against a roll, but the mismatch is already set. Edwards notices that Adams is flat-footed, rises up and scores.
The play is smart and exploits a glaring weakness, which Phillips describes through three different scenarios. A way to defend this would involve kicking the ball out to Patrick Beverley, something that Phillips refered to in the video.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were the seventh seed, coming out of the play-in tournament, and should be willing to use anything and everything at their disposal. Even if they were to make it out of the first-round, an exit in the second-round is very likely.
Anthony Edwards 36-point game saw Minnesota Timberwolves take the lead in first-round matchup against the Grizzlies
After losing 130-117 in Game 1 on Saturday, the Memphis Grizzlies will look to come back strong against the gritty Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Minnesota's Anthony Edwards put up 36 points in his playoff debut. He became the third-youngest player to score more than 35 points in a playoff game. He also tied for the fourth-most points in a playoff debut.
Despite Ja Morant's 32 points, he had a box +/- of minus-16. The Grizzlies shot poorly, going 25.7% from the 3-point line, and their lackluster defense led the Timberwolves to score 130 points.
After Tuesday, the series will shift to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4, on Thursday and Saturday.