Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/18/24)

The ailing Memphis Grizzlies (15-25) take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (29-11) this Thursday (1/18/24). Get Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction

The Grizzlies are down four starters, including two of their three best players in Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. Three role players will also be sidelined, so Memphis is scraping the bottom of the barrel here. They encounter a healthy Wolves squad that owns the second best record in basketball.

Jaren Jackson Jr. enters this contest as Memphis’ top scorer, but he faces an uphill climb here. His typical length advantage is nullified against Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert, who form the top defensive frontcourt across the league. The trio can stick to Jackson Jr. all night and heavily contest his shots.

Memphis ranks 29th in three-point percentage and lacks reliable shooters outside of Luke Kennard and Jacob Gilyard. That’s a death sentence against a Timberwolves defense that thrives protecting the paint. Within eight feet of the basket, Minnesota allows the fifth fewest field goal attempts per game and the lowest field goal percentage (via NBA.com).

Finally, it will be hyper-difficult for Memphis to create half–court looks if Luke Kennard and Jacob Gilyard are blanketed. Anthony Edwards and Nickeil Alexander-Walker both possess the defensive chops to accomplish this feat and cut down Memphis’ already depleted playmaking.

On the other end, Memphis’ defense is vulnerable even with Vince Williams Jr. and Jaren Jackson Jr. on the court. Their rim protection needs work, especially with Towns’ shooting drawing Jackson Jr. out of the paint. Meanwhile, Minnesota should bully them at the point-of-attack and penetrate the paint with ease. The Timberwolves are far from elite offensively, but they have the tools to turn in a strong performance.

Overall, Minnesota’s defense will lead to them cruising here, and their offense can do enough to widen the gap too.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction: Timberwolves -12

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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Best Odds

Because of Memphis’ injuries, Minnesota enters this matchup as 12.5 point favorites. They are 10-6-2 against the spread at home, while the Grizzlies own a 12-9 record against the spread on the road.

For Memphis’ +525 to be profitable in the long run, they need to win here at least 16 percent of the time.

Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup

PG: Luke Kennard
SG: Vince Williams Jr.
SF: Ziaire Williams
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
C: Xavier Tillman Sr.

Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Anthony Edwards
SF: Jaden McDaniels
PF: Karl-Anthony Towns
C: Rudy Gobert

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries

Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke, Derrick Rose, and Jake LaRavia will all miss the contest for Memphis. On the other hand, the Timberwolves have their full depth chart at their disposal besides rookie Jaylen Clark, who has yet to make his debut. Advantage Minnesota.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Key Matchups

Timberwolves’ Offensive Rebounding

Jackson Jr., Tillman, and Aldama do not control the glass, which is worrisome against this massive Timberwolves squad. It’s highly likely that Minnesota produces a higher points per possession than Memphis, so winning the possession battle too would be the final nail in the coffin. If the Timberwolves rack up offensive rebounds and second chance points, then it will be a long night for Memphis.

GG Jackson’s Scoring

In order to make a breakthrough against Minnesota’s defense, someone needs to step up by creating their own shot and converting at a high rate. Enter rookie GG Jackson, who displayed intriguing self-creation chops at college. His game is still raw, but he has notched 43 points over the past two games. If Jackson continues his scoring tear and provides a scoring burst off the bench, then Memphis could keep it within striking distance of the spread.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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