Ja Morant, Grizzlies face Wolves in search of road success

The Memphis Grizzlies and host Minnesota Timberwolves each will go for their third win in a row when they meet Saturday night at Minneapolis.

Memphis is coming off back-to-back wins at home against the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. The Grizzlies will try to take that positive momentum on the road, where they are 2-4 this season compared with 6-3 at home.

Ja Morant gives the Grizzlies a chance to win in any game he plays. He is coming off a 28-point effort against the Clippers in which he shot 13 of 21 overall and 2 of 5 from 3-point range.

The third-year player out of Murray State is averaging a career high 26 points per game. He is shooting 50.2 percent from the field while also averaging 6.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists.

“I’m going to continue being that guy, being a leader on the court,” Morant said.

The Timberwolves could try to slow down Morant by assigning veteran Patrick Beverley to guard him. Beverley, the pesky defender, is in his first season with Minnesota after spending the previous nine seasons with the Houston Rockets and Clippers.

Like the Grizzlies, the Timberwolves are coming off back-to-back wins, just the second time they have recorded consecutive victories. They are hoping to wrap a three-game homestand with a perfect record after knocking off the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs earlier in the week.

In their latest win, a 25-point blowout over the Spurs, Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 25 points and 12 rebounds. D’Angelo Russell added 22 points, and Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince all scored in double figures off the bench.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch praised his team for sharing the ball, which he said led to a more balanced shot selection during the game.

“It’s all related to the same thing,” Finch said. “When the ball does the work for you, and you trust that the next player is going to make the same decision with the same pure mindset, then this is what happens. You have a way more balanced attack, and then you’re harder to guard and everything.

“It’s great. It’s been a long time coming for us to play this way. Now, we’ve got to play a lot more like this.”

This will be the second meeting of the season between the teams. In the first contest Nov. 8 at Memphis, the Grizzlies held on in overtime for a 125-118 victory.

Morant led the way with 33 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Brandon Clarke had 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting off the bench, and De’Anthony Melton chipped in 19 points while making 7 of 12 shots from the field.

Russell led the Timberwolves with 30 points as he shot 10 of 22 overall and 6 of 13 from 3-point range. Anthony Edwards finished with 27 points and Towns had a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds, but Minnesota managed only 16 points from its bench.

The Grizzlies and Timberwolves will meet two more times after this contest. They play each other Jan. 13 in Memphis and Feb. 24 in Minneapolis.


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