Game one of the NBA playoffs’ opening round between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies featured an upset victory for Minnesota in enemy territory. That win was only their 2nd postseason victory since the team’s 10-8 playoff run in 2004.
The Timberwolves rode the good vibes from their play-in game victory over the Los Angeles Clippers to a surprising 13 point game one victory against Memphis. Minnesota will be looking to build on this momentum while the Grizzlies are going to be out for revenge in front of their hometown crowd in game two.
Game One Recap
The big reason why the Timberwolves were able to pull out the upset victory in game one is because they were pretty much in command from the get-go. Minnesota outscored Memphis in every quarter except the 2nd, and outscored them by eight points in both the 1st and 4th quarters.
The deepness of this team’s pure basketball abilities was shown in its truest form in game one, and this T-Wolves team is attempting to put the rest of the league on notice.
Major credit for that win goes to forward Anthony Edwards who dropped 36 points on 12-23 shooting and was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line to go along with 6 assists and 2 blocks. Edwards has been an instrumental part of Minnesota’s playoff push and simply put, the team would not be here without him.
The impact of center Karl-Anthony Towns also cannot be overstated. Towns is one of the best big men in the league and showed it in game one as he put up 29 points on 11-18 shooting as well as securing 13 rebounds.
As a team, this was just an all-out better performance by Minnesota. The Timberwolves put up a better field goal, 3 point and free throw percentage while out rebounding the Grizzlies.
On the other end, Memphis’ main weapons, save for Ja Morant, were largely held at bay. Center Steven Adams didn’t put up a single point while forward Jaren Jackson Jr. put up only 12 on 4-13 shooting.
The Timberwolves’ starting five simply outplayed the Grizzlies, the ultimate difference-maker in game one of this series.
Game Two Preview
It’s always the case that a higher seeded team has more pressure on them in the playoffs; especially in the early rounds. Now that Memphis has dropped game one against the Timberwolves, that pressure ramps up to an even greater degree.
Morant is the lifeblood of this team, but he can’t do everything for them. His 32 points in game one didn’t much matter because the rest of the starting five combined for just 53.
If the Grizzlies expect to even the series and put out this fire before it grows, they need to give Morant help on the floor and create their own scoring opportunities; something that was largely missing in game one.
On the Timberwolves’ side, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. This team came out firing on all cylinders in game one and were the better team for basically all 48 minutes.
The keys to victory for Minnesota are going to be strong performances from Edwards and Towns yet again, as well as support from Malik Beasley and Jaden McDaniels who combined for 38 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
It’s no coincidence that the T-Wolves outshot and outrebounded the Grizzlies and won the game by double digits. Minnesota is riding a confidence high and the way that has translated on the court over their last two games will be necessary to their victory in game two as well as this series at large.
The Timberwolves have all the momentum in their favor and will come into this game with very little pressure in comparison to Memphis.On paper the Grizzlies are obviously the much better team, but this is the playoffs and anything is possible.
The moneyline has the Grizzlies heavy favorites at -300 with the Timberwolves slated at +240.
If you’re looking for better value, you’ll find that by placing a wager on the Timberwolves to make this a 2-0 series. Minnesota proved in game one that they deserve to be here and they’ll be arriving at FedExForum tomorrow night with an edge over Memphis.
The spread is 7 points in Memphis’ favor so if you’re gonna take the Timberwolves on the moneyline; you’ll definitely want to also take Minnesota for the spread. Either way this should be a close game when the dust settles.
The over/under is 241. The two teams combined for 247 in game one, and it’s likely that defense takes more of a precedent in this game; especially for the Grizzlies. Take the under in this one as scoring will be less consistent than in game one.
Final score prediction: Timberwolves 118, Grizzlies 115