Gameday: Wolves vs. Memphis

  • Updated: March 26, 2012 - 8:09 PM

Preview: The Grizzlies ended a four-game Western trip on Sunday with a 102-96 upset victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles after they lost the first three games at Sacramento, Portland and the Clippers. They had lost six of eight before beating the Lakers, and had won five in a row before that. They are 26-21 and are sixth in the West while the Wolves are 11th at 24-26 and are 2 1/2 games behind No. 8 Houston for the final playoff spot with 16 games left. ...The Grizzlies beat the Wolves 90-86 at Target Center on Jan. 4 and 85-80 in Memphis on Feb. 8 and have won the past six games, including five in a row in Memphis, between the two teams. They conclude the season series April 17 at Target Center.

Players to watch: Memphis went 23-14 in the 37 games forward Zach Randolph missed because of a torn MCL in his knee and they're 2-4 since his return. The Grizzlies adjusted their starting lineup, moving Randolph to the bench alongside O.J. Mayo and starting Marreese Speights instead. The move worked: The Grizzlies' bench outscored the Lakers' subs 41-9, thanks to Mayo's 16 points and Randolph's 10. ... Memphis point guard Mike Conley leads the NBA in steals with 2.44 a game while shooting guard Tony Allen is eighth at 1.75 even though he averages just 26 minutes a game. They key a defense that leads the NBA in steals and forced turnovers, the Wolves' biggest area of susceptibility. They led the league in both categories last season and would become the first team since Seattle (1995-97) to do so in consecutive seasons if they stay there.

Injuries: Wolves G J.J. Barea (thigh contusion) and C Nikola Pekovic (bone spurs, right ankle) did not make the trip for Tuesday's game and Wednesday's game at Charlotte. G Ricky Rubio remains in Colorado for a check-up visit this weekend after undergoing season-ending knee surgery Wednesday. Grizzlies F Darrell Arthur (torn Achilles' tendon) is out for the season.

JERRY ZGODA

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