No. 2 Seed Grizzlies Seek Fast Start
The second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies open what they hope is a long postseason when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series on Saturday afternoon. Memphis won the Southwest Division and finished eight games behind the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA.
Minnesota had to win a play-in game against the Los Angeles Clippers to earn the seventh seed in the playoffs, its first postseason berth since 2018. This should be an exciting series opener, so check out our preview of the contest before you make a bet online on this game.
Timberwolves Confident After Play-In Win
The Minnesota Timberwolves don’t have much experience in postseason games – only five since appearing in the 2004 Western Conference finals – and most of the players on the roster haven’t been in the playoffs either. But that doesn’t matter to this group, which feels it can play with anyone in the league right now.
Center Karl-Anthony Towns, the team’s only All-Star this season, leads the team with 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. But Towns struggled against the Clippers on Tuesday night, shooting just 3-for-11 and finishing with 11 points before fouling out, yet Minnesota advanced because of the other scorers on the team.
“The game had to go in a different direction,” Minnesota head coach Chris Finch said about Tuesday’s win. “That’s why you have a team, because a lot of other people step up.”
Stepping up were Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, who combined for 59 points in the victory. Edwards has emerged as one of the more dynamic scorers in the NBA in his second season, averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He averaged 25.2 points in five regular-season games in April, which included just eight points in the finale.
Russell is also capable of big scoring games, averaging 18.1 points. He’s also good at running the team’s offense, ranking 11th in the league with 7.1 assists per game.
Grizzlies Eye Postseason Success
Last season, it was the Memphis Grizzlies who had to win a play-in game – two in fact – to advance to the postseason to take on the top-seeded Utah Jazz. Memphis won one game in the first-round series and was left hungry for more playoff success.
Now, the Grizzlies are playing as the favorite and with the home-court advantage in the series. Memphis also has the top player in the series in guard Ja Morant, who has emerged as one of the league’s brightest young stars.
Morant averaged 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists, though he played just one game in the last few weeks of the season due to soreness in his knee. He came back with 21 points and nine assists on April 9 and should be good to go in this one.
Memphis has shown a lot of balance offensively, especially with Morant sidelined. Guard Desmond Bane averaged 18.2 points per game while forward Jaren Jackson Jr. is a presence on both ends of the floor, averaging 16.3 points and a league-best 2.3 blocks.
Timberwolves vs Grizzlies Head-to-Head
The Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves squared off four times in 2021-22, with the home team winning each matchup. It was a mixed bag, with an overtime victory by Memphis in the first meeting followed by a 43-point Minnesota win in the second matchup.
The Grizzlies’ win in the first meeting gave them seven straight victories over the Timberwolves dating back to the start of the 2019-20 season. Memphis is considered the favorite in this series, which is why they have a decided edge in the NBA lines for Game 1.
Timberwolves vs Grizzlies Game Information
- Game: Timberwolves (46-36) vs Grizzlies (56-26)
- Location: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
- Day/Time: Saturday, April 16th 3:30 p.m. ET
- Timberwolves vs Grizzlies Live stream: NBA Game Pass
Timberwolves vs Grizzlies Betting Lines
Timberwolves vs Grizzlies Prediction
While the Minnesota Timberwolves have some momentum after winning the play-in game, the Memphis Grizzlies have the experience of being in the postseason just last season. Morant will have to deal with the defense of Patrick Beverely, but the Grizzlies should have enough to pick up the initial win of the series.
When making your NBA picks, take Memphis to win and cover in Game 1.