NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, March 18th
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (23-41) at Memphis Grizzlies (44-21), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies look to bolster their playoff status
when they return home for back-to-back games, starting with Monday's showdown
with the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedEx Forum.
The Grizzlies will also welcome Oklahoma City to town and are 25-8 as the host
this season. They currently occupy the fourth spot in the West, just a game
behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 3 slot.
Memphis went 2-2 on a recent trip and lost the last two installments of the
swing. In a 90-84 loss at Utah on Saturday, Jerryd Bayless scored 24 points
off the bench and Zach Randolph added 19 and nine rebounds. Mike Conley and
Marc Gasol scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
"We were playing a little bit too slow and something we really need to work
on, to pick up the pace," said Bayless.
The Grizzlies, who own a 25-8 home record, have won seven in a row at home and
have dropped two in a row overall since a six-game winning streak.
Minnesota will play three straight on the road and has lost seven straight
away from the Target Center. The Timberwolves will also visit Sacramento and
Phoenix and are just 7-25 as the guest.
The Wolves ended a two-game slide and won for the third time in the past 13
contests with Sunday's 97-95 triumph versus New Orleans. Nikola Pekovic
returned to action and made two go-ahead free throws with 14 seconds remaining
to lead Minnesota to victory.
"Good win," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman said. "We made two or three
plays down the stretch that won the games for us."
Pekovic missed the last nine games with an abdominal strain, while Andrei
Kirilenko sat out the previous eight contests with a calf injury. Kirilenko
had two big blocks down the stretch and posted eight points and five boards.
Derrick Williams finished with 28 points for Minnesota, which looks to spoil
Memphis' chances of improving its playoff position.
The Timberwolves suffered a 105-88 loss at Memphis on Feb. 10 this season and
are mired in a nine-game losing streak in this series. The Grizzlies are 12-1
in the past 13 encounters with Minnesota, losers of seven straight at FedEx
03/18 10:31:48 ET