Jonah: Jim Peterson and Dave Benz, who have truly been great this season, mentioned the better scoring jobs as of late from Ricky Rubio. And when they said it, he had just six points. Well, Rubio finished with 23, a game-high actually. The root of his improved scoring has been his ability to get to the free throw line and convert. He was constantly getting tied up with Mike Conley and reaped the benefits of 12 attempts from the charity stripe (He nailed 10 of them).
Derek: Greg Stiemsma actually played pretty well last night. He played smart for forty minutes without getting into foul trouble or committing too many turnovers. Against this Grizzlies frontline, that’s no easy task, and he managed to convert the scoring opportunities he was given pretty well, too. He didn’t make us forget about Nikola Pekovic, but he did as good of a job in relief as we could have hoped for. That’s a compliment, right?
Jonah: Seriously, how did they let this one go? The Wolves led the game through the first three quarters but allowed the Grizzlies to keep in it the whole time. And for that, they got shunned in the fourth as the Grizzlies put up 34 that quarter. Obviously, they’re not used to winning but they ended up getting blown out of a game they led most of the way. It might’ve been one thing if it ended in a 3-point game but it didn’t. Things just turned embarrassing. It’s as simple as that.
Derek: You will not beat the Memphis Grizzlies by turning the ball over nearly twice as much as they did (16-9). If the Grizzlies are forcing turnovers then you better be, too.
Jonah: Sooo, Chris Johnson got up to go in midway through the first quarter. It would’ve been his first time getting early game minutes in a very long time. But soon after, he retreated right to the bench, never to enter the game until late. How disappointing!
Derek: I don’t know where to put this, so I’ll just throw it here. Aside from the Grizzlies’ frontcourt I absolutely hate seeing the Grizzlies on the schedule because of their tenacity on defense. They do little things like get their hands active in passing lanes and body up players before they can get set in their spot. Really, while you may have possession of the ball, you’re playing Grizzlies basketball. If you’re a basketball fan, you love it, but if you’re a Timberwolves fan, you hate it.
We saw it in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies put the clamps down on the Timberwolves, and essentially smothered their hopes and dreams. With no Pekovic in the paint, the Timberwolves had no big body that could hold his own against Gasol or Randolph, and the pair managed to push the bigs out of their desired position. Also, without Pek, the Timberwolves were unable to have an effective screen setter, and this enabled the Grizzlies to disrupt the Timberwolves offense by d-ing up their point guards well above the break. Doing so forced the Wolves into having Greg Stiemsma and Dante Cunningham (who had an off-night) into consecutive midrange jumpers.
Next up: The Wolves take on the KG-less Celtics on Monday night at the Target Center, 7 pm.