The Minnesota Timberwolves are set to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs. This will be a highly contested series, as the Timberwolves enter the playoffs as the West’s eighth seed while the Grizzlies are the fifth seed.
In order to come away victorious, the Timberwolves must focus on certain aspects of their game. We’re going to take a look at what those key elements to success are for the Timberwolves in this matchup.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Playoffs
The Minnesota Timberwolves are a professional basketball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Western Conference’s Northwest Division. Founded in 1989, the team is owned by Glen Taylor who also owns the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. The Timberwolves play their home games at Target Center, their home since 1990. Like most expansion teams, the Timberwolves struggled in their early years but after the hiring of Kevin Garnett in 1995 and Stephon Marbury in 1996 the franchise entered one of its most successful periods. In 2010, KG retired from the team and they began to rebuild with new players such as Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love who led them to make playoff appearances in 2014–15 and 2016–17 seasons. In 2017 however, they moved on to sign two-time all star Jimmy Butler although it would not be enough as they were unable to make it past their first round playoff series against Memphis Grizzlies that year. In 2019–20 after acquiring more assets such as forward Andrew Wiggins, guard Jake Layman, guards Robert Covington and Jeff Teague combined with Karl Anthony Towns’ career high scoring season gave the Timberwolves its best winning record since 2005–06 and a place back into playoffs for first time since 2017 getting eliminated by Houston Rockets 4-1 at first round playoffs series.
The following season showed promise but ultimately ended up with a injury ridden roster unable to break through missing out on playoffs for fourth time consecutive time making it 18th straight defeat of not making it pass first round of playoffs making longstanding fans revist old times reminiscing about days when there was hope for bright future from then teenagers unproven players KG, Marbury, Latrell Sprewell, Joe Smith and Wally Szczerbiak.
Previous Playoff Results
In the matchup between Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Playoffs, both teams have faced each other for eight times since the Grizzlies joined the league. During the span, Grizzlies earned four wins and Timberwolves won two. Additionally, two games ended with a draw. After having a tight battle throughout regular season, both teams met in playoffs for the first-time in 2004. Since then, they exchanged victories until 2016 when Memphis Grizzlies earned a fourth victory over Minnesota Timberwolves in Round 1 of Western Conference playoffs. In round 2 (2017 season) Timberwolves took revenge by winning over Grizzlies 4 – 0. Most recently, Minnesota beat Boston Celtics to make it to first conference finals of their history by playing against established talents like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.
In conclusion, both teams have had a roller coaster ride against each other since 2004 but currently Minnesota holds an edge with slightly better record than Memphis in playoff games.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a talented, young roster and several key players that can make a difference in the playoffs. In order for the Timberwolves to win their series versus the Memphis Grizzlies, they’ll need to rely on the individual strengths of their players. This first part will outline what each player can bring to the court to help their team succeed.
Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the most valuable assets for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA playoffs. The All-Star big man is a big reason why Minnesota was able to get past the first round and into the second round of this year’s playoffs. Towns is a two-way player, capable of impacting both sides of the ball with his offensive and defensive prowess. On offense, he has a great mid-range game and can drain threes when needed. Defensively, he blocks shots and uses his length to cause turnovers and stop scoring opportunities at the rim.
His leadership skills are invaluable to this young Timberwolves team as they navigate their way through the playoff experience for the first time in more than a decade.
Andrew Wiggins is an important piece for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA playoffs. Wiggins has been a dominant force on the court, leading all qualified players in points per game this season. His incredible talent and ability to drive to the hoop make him a difficult opponent for any defender.
The combination of his scoring potential and his defensive hustle gives Minnesota a key element that can help them as they challenge Memphis in this seven-game series. As Wiggins brings his unique offensive style and impressive defensive prowess, Minnesota can fully unlock their offensive potential and be a more confident contender as they fight to advance in the playoffs.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have an advantage against the Memphis Grizzlies in terms of the depth of their bench players. The Timberwolves are able to match up with the Grizzlies’ starting lineup, but they have far more (3-5) substitutes throughout their roster that add a greater strength of play and energy during their contests. With this extra energy, Minnesota is able to outlast opponents for longer stretches which helps them set up better plays for dynamic scorers like D’Angelo Russell on drives and Karl-Anthony Towns on pick-and-pop opportunities.
Furthermore, many players from the bench such as Jarrett Culver, Jordan Bell and Naz Reid were instrumental in reviving Minnesota’s postseason hopes over recent weeks by energizing a depleted post-season rotation. This element of surprise has helped them secure victories against some formidable opponents down the stretch. As a result, it can be said that the Timberwolves’ ability to access more talent from their reserves will be an important key in successfully competing against Memphis in this upcoming series.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled to find consistent success during the 2018-19 NBA playoffs series against the Memphis Grizzlies. While they boast a talented starting lineup, there have been some weaknesses exposed which have greatly hindered their chances of coming out on top. Of course, key to any series is identifying weaknesses and attacking them, which is exactly what the Timberwolves must do in order to have any chance of pushing past the Grizzlies.
Lack of Playoff Experience
While the Minnesota Timberwolves have had some good teams in recent years, most of their players are still relatively young and have yet to experience key moments in an NBA playoff environment. This lack of experience could be a deciding factor when taking on the Memphis Grizzlies, who feature several experienced veterans that have seen it all before. With seven of their fifteen players having extensive playoff experience and four others with at least one series under their belts, the Grizzlies enter this matchup as battle-tested veterans.
Conversely, Minnesota depends heavily on the play of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, who both lack any real playoff background; they will sorely rely on Derrick Rose’s few years of playoff success to aid them in navigating through tight games. Uncertainty has surrounded the Timberwolves’ rotation due to injuries throughout the regular season and into these playoffs, meaning even more inexperience in clutch situations for Jeff Teague’s crew. The Wolves must find ways to play with poise near the end of games if they plan on advancing past round one.
Despite the Minnesota Timberwolves having a strong offense, the team’s defensive struggles have been their main factor in missing out on the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies have one of the best defenses in the NBA and will look to capitalize on Minnesota’s defensive weaknesses. The Timberwolves rank near bottom in many statistics related to defense including allowing opponents to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 52.9%, which is 28th overall in NBA teams. They also rank 27th in points allowed per 100 possessions (113.1) and 28th in opponent fast break points per game (12.3). Given that they are facing one of the better defensive teams in the league, it will be important for them to limit turnovers and get back on defense quickly to try and prevent easy baskets for their opponents.
Another key area where Minnesota struggles defensively is defending the post-up play, ranking worst overall among NBA teams (1.11 points per possession). However, Memphis does not regularly feature post-up plays as part of their offense, but this still could be an area where their opponent can exploit them if they give them good looks from inside the paint. If Minnesota wants a chance at winning this series, they need to show improved effort at defending their opponents and minimizing those defensive struggles. With a strong offense already in place led by Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, it will take limiting these weaknesses on defense if they want a chance at competing with Memphis when playoff basketball begins later this month.
Rebounding has been an area of weakness for the Minnesota Timberwolves throughout the regular season, particularly on the defensive end. The team ranks 30th in total rebounds, 30th in offensive rebounds, and 26th in defensive rebounds. The lack of size up front has been an issue for Minnesota this season and is an area that Memphis will look to exploit during the playoffs. If Memphis can crash the glass with vigor it could be a major factor in deciding the series outcome. In order for Minnesota to have success, they must match Memphis’s intensity on the boards and limit the number of second chance points they give up.
With the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves going head-to-head in the NBA playoffs, there are key players that the Timberwolves must have in order to win the series. These essential players are necessary to provide the right amount of energy, leadership, and skill necessary to get the victory. Let’s dive into the key players necessary for a successful series against the Grizzlies.
Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the key players who will have a significant impact on the outcome of the Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves series in the NBA Playoffs. Towns is a talented, dynamic player who possesses excellent size and athleticism at the center position. He has an impressive balance of power and finesse, enabling him to score from both inside and outside. On offense, he is a great inside scorer who can also hit shots from beyond the three-point line with accuracy and precision. On defense, he has shown himself to be a strong rim protector, capable of covering multiple positions as needed. His ability to affect the game on both ends makes him one of the most important players in this matchup and one that could help determine which team advances to the second round.
Andrew Wiggins is a key player for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their upcoming NBA Playoffs series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Wiggins, the former No. 1 pick, has made a huge impact offensively for the Timberwolves this season, averaging 19.6 points per game on an effective field goal percentage of 49.2%. He is also one of the best defenders in the league, using his length and athleticism to disrupt passes and force turnovers on a regular basis.
With his ability to score from anywhere on the court and create mismatches with his speed, Wiggins is sure to be a key player in this series for Minnesota as they aim to advance their way through the playoffs.
Jeff Teague is a key player for the Minnesota Timberwolves in this playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies. With his excellent quickness, court vision, and strong defensive ability, he has been a critical part of the Timberwolves’ run to the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
Teague is capable of orchestrating an offense and making smart decisions with the ball. He also uses his length and agility to disrupt opposing point guards and help organize his team’s defense. Offensively, Teague can create opportunities for himself and his teammates with adept ball-handling maneuvers, pick-and-roll proficiency, and effective use of screens. His career-high averages of 15.3 points per game, 7.8 assists per game, 0.9 steals per game and 48 percent shooting from 3-point range make him one of the most lethal threats in this series against Memphis. When on court in 2018 playoffs he had 14 pts., 6 assists, 1 steal per game / 38% 3pts FG shooting % & 48% overall FG shooting %. There is no doubt that Teague will play a key role for Minnesota if they hope to progress further into these playoffs against Memphis Grizzlies as both teams are now tied at 2 wins each after 4 games. As Head Coach Tom Thibodeau said “He commands a lot respect out there”.
Keys to the Series
The Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves are set to face off in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Both teams have had a successful season and this is sure to be a close series. In order to get an edge over the Grizzlies, the Timberwolves need to focus on the following keys. Let’s take a closer look.
Establish an Early Lead
The Minnesota Timberwolves need to establish an early lead for themselves against the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA playoffs by utilizing all of their available resources. Establishing an early lead will give them a good chance of winning the series. Through strong defense, strong transition play and smart shot selection, the Timberwolves can set the tone early in each game and create distance between themselves and their opponent. If they can maintain intensity and match their effort on both ends of the court, they should be able to lock down wins more effectively. In addition to using their skill sets on each end of the court, Minnesota needs to focus on developing a successful game plan against Memphis that is tailored towards the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. Execution is key when it comes to playing strategically; if Minnesota’s players can execute plays quickly and intelligently even under pressure, they should have no trouble putting themselves ahead in a series with Memphis. An effective approach should include concerted efforts such as picking up turnovers quickly, capitalizing on fastbreaks more frequently, and knowing when it’s best to take quick shots or adopt different tactics such as post-up plays or pick-and-rolls during offensive sequences. With smart defensive rotations which focus on bedding players into any gaps created by teammates who are out of position or having difficulty keeping up with an exceptionally fast pace from Memphis’ side; this strategic approach can also serve as a great way for Minnesota to open up play during games as well. All these elements will go a long way into helping them gain momentum early in each contest.
One of the keys to winning the playoff series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves revolves around limiting turnovers. In basketball, a turnover occurs when the ball is lost or travels out of bounds without either team scoring. Reducing turnovers by handling and passing the ball effectively can have a direct effect on a team’s chances of success. For the Timberwolves to have success in this series, it would be helpful for them to limit their turnovers. Ball handling skills and improving passing are key components in limiting turnovers, whether it is through better awareness or proper body positioning. The players need to look at their teammates for options and make good decisions when passing or shooting. As well as ball handling tips, point guards and other playmakers should know how to manipulate their opponents with fake fakes, pump fakes and more deceptive moves that can create open shots on offense while keeping defenders off balance on defense.
By reducing turnovers and improving shooting percentages, the Timberwolves will give themselves a better chance against Memphis. Any improvement in these areas will pay dividends as they progress further into the playoffs. Remaining smart with every possession is crucial if they want to take advantage of each opportunity they get while also keeping possessions alive by limiting mistakes throughout each game.
Control The Paint
The key to distinction of victory in these playoffs will be the control of the paint. The Memphis Grizzlies have a very capable interior defense that can stop many of the Timberwolves shots near the rim, but also force some turnovers. The Grizzlies high rebounding totals should be taken as an indicator for how well they control the glass. On offense, the Grizzlies need to take advantage of defensive mismatches on their interior players and get easy buckets in transition.
For Minnesota, they must find a way to counter this pressure from Memphis with their shooting and transition offense. They need to be able to knock down 3-pointers consistently while still finding ways to penetrate the lane in transition and create easy scoring opportunities for their players. They must limit turnovers and use good ball movement to create open spots around their perimeter shooters; this will be essential if they are going to have any chance against Memphis.