Timberwolves vs Grizzlies – NBA Pick for December 4th
- Spread: Timberwolves -2.5
The Memphis Grizzlies aren’t having a very good time at the moment. Memphis enters Monday’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves as losers of 11 consecutive games and better days don’t seem to be on the horizon. Sure, things should improve once Mike Conley returns from his injury at some point over the next couple of weeks, but at this point, it’s hard to imagine this season resulting in anything more than a lottery spot for Memphis.
Gasol, Evans and Little Else
As was the case last season, injuries have ruled the day for the Grizz. Things really got bad once Conley injured his Achilles, but things weren’t exactly rosy while he was healthy either. Things came to a head last week when the team made the shocking decision to part ways with head coach David Fizdale after a little more than a full season.
Marc Gasol’s counting numbers have been solid, but his efficiency has dipped as he has been forced to shoulder most of the offensive load without Conley around. Gasol is shooting just 42 percent from the floor through the season’s first 22 games, which would be the lowest mark of his career by a wide margin. Gasol’s worst shooting percentage for a season was 45.9, set last season when he decided to start taking more three-pointers.
Memphis has also gotten a surprising season out of Tyreke Evans. Evans has been stuffing the stat sheet all year, but he really put forth a phenomenal effort in the team’s most recent loss to the Cavaliers. Evans finished that game with a team-high 31 points along with 12 rebounds and 7 assists. The former Rookie of the Year has been installed by interim coach JB Bickerstaff as the team’s de facto starting point guard with Conley on the shelf.
Up and Down T-Wolves
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, have alternated wins and losses over their last 7 games, the most recent of which was a win over the shorthanded L.A. Clippers on Sunday in Minneapolis. The Wolves should have had an easier time beating a Clipper team missing 4 starters, but a win is a win.
Jimmy Butler rescued Minnesota against the Clippers, which is something we haven’t seen a whole lot of this season. Butler has taken some time to get used to his new teammates with the Wolves, but he now appears to be finding his footing. He finished with a season-high 33 points and scored several crucial baskets late in the fourth to seal the win for the Timberwolves.
Butler’s presence has cut into the usage of Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is still scoring 20.3 points and grabbing 11.6 rebounds per game, but he’s taking nearly 4 fewer shots a night thanks to Butler’s need to get shots himself. While the attempts are down, KAT’s efficiency is not. He’s still hitting better than 52 percent of his shots from the field, including 37 percent of his tries from beyond the long line.
Towns has had a hard time finding much success against Gasol, however. In 4 career head-to-head meetings, KAT is averaging just 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The Grizzlies just don’t have enough firepower right now to keep up with a team like Minnesota, who has played well on the whole this season. Memphis’ streak will come to an end at some point, but it probably isn’t happening tonight. Despite playing on the road, the Timberwolves look like a strong bet as 2 ½-point favorites.