NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Minnesota 26 38 32 25 121
Memphis 37 35 29 36 137
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , November 6, 2019
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee  Attendance: 13,503

Towns returns as Timberwolves visit Grizzlies

According to STATS
According to STATS

Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Minnesota and Memphis split four meetings last season, with each team winning one game on the other's home court. The Timberwolves' win in Memphis last season snapped a four-game losing streak there, but Minnesota has gone 3-15 versus the Grizzlies on the road since the 2009-10 season.
  2. The Timberwolves went 1-1 in the two games Karl-Anthony Towns missed due to suspension. Minnesota is scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions with Towns on the court this season compared to 96.3 points per 100 when he is not.
  3. The Grizzlies lost their third straight game, falling to Houston, 107-100, on Monday. Memphis is 0-5 in regulation games this season, with its only win coming in a 134-133 overtime thriller against Brooklyn.
  4. Minnesota (11.00 steals per game) and Memphis (9.67) rank first and second in the Western Conference. Both teams turn the ball over as well, with Memphis' (18.3 turnovers per game) averaging the most in the West and Minnesota (17.7) averaging the third most.
  5. Andrew Wiggins hit four three-pointers in a game for the third time this season in his team's loss to Milwaukee on Monday. He had two such games all of last season and his career high for a single season is eight games with four or more three-pointers (2017-18).
  6. Ja Morant (23 points) led Memphis in scoring in its loss to Houston. He has had at least 20 points and five assists in two straight games. Last season, three rookies did this in back-to-back games -- Trae Young (longest streak was six), Luka Doncic (longest streak was four) and Collin Sexton (one streak of two).

Karl-Anthony Towns returns from a two-game suspension to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday against the host Memphis Grizzlies.

Minnesota (4-2) plays its third road game in its last four outings, and fifth of seven to open the campaign. Its undefeated start ended a week ago in a 117-95 loss at Philadelphia, noteworthy for Towns' scuffle with Joel Embiid which netted each player a two-game ban.

The absence of Towns, a two-time All-Star, loomed Monday in a 134-106 loss to Milwaukee. Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo led a 62-38 points-in-the-paint advantage and 57-47 edge in rebounding for the Bucks.

The Timberwolves regain their star post presence in time to face a struggling Memphis side.

The Grizzlies (1-5) dropped their third straight on Monday, falling 107-100 at home to Houston, with second-year post player Jaren Jackson Jr. sidelined. Jackson, whose status for Wednesday is uncertain due to a right knee injury, is averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game through his first five games.

Rookie Brandon Clarke made his first career start Monday in Jackson's place, despite dealing with his own back injury. He blocked four shots in the loss.

Memphis loses some size in the starting rotation going with the 6-foot-8 Clarke in lieu of 6-foot-11 Jackson, a potential factor with Towns back in Minnesota's lineup on Wednesday.

Clarke is one of two first-year Grizzlies selected in the first round of June's draft. The other, guard Ja Morant, continued his hot start with a 23-point, six-assist showing against Houston.

"(Teammates) just put me in the right positions, whether they were setting a screen, being able to knock down shots, making their man just focus in on them, it opens up driving lanes for me," Morant said in his postgame press conference following Monday's contest. "Most of that credit goes to them."

Morant leads the Grizzlies in both points and assists through six games, averaging 19.5 and 5.5. His backcourt mate, third-year guard Dillon Brooks, comes in third among all Grizzlies scorers at 12.5 per game.

Giving up points has been an issue for both sides with each team ranking in the bottom quarter of the league in scoring defense. Memphis is allowing 117.3 per game and Minnesota gives up an average of 115.7.

Much of the Grizzlies' defensive effort will be keyed on veteran wing Andrew Wiggins, coming off a 25-point performance against the Bucks. That matched his season-high, coming off the heels of a season-best six-assist effort in a 131-109 win at Washington on Saturday.

Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders told the Star Tribune that Wiggins has flourished early in the season as a result of attacking the rim off the dribble more aggressively than previously in his six-season career.

"It's also a credit to a lot of people involved, doing the research, and the way the information is being conveyed to these guys," he said of Wiggins' improved play.

His 21.2-point per game average thus far is his highest output since averaging 23.6 in 2016-17. He's on a very early pace to average a career-best for rebounding at 5.2 per game, and field-goal shooting at 48.6 percent.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 5, 2019

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