The Minnesota Timberwolves will face a tall task in their bid to snap their third three-game losing skid of the season on Wednesday when they face the Memphis Grizzlies in Minneapolis.
The Timberwolves will be without Karl-Anthony Towns, who the team said on Tuesday is sidelined indefinitely with a right calf strain and will be reassessed in several weeks. The three-time All-Star forward sustained a non-contact injury while turning to run up the floor during the third quarter of Minnesota’s 142-127 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday.
“Obviously super-concerned about that. Big blow for us,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said.
Towns, 27, has averaged 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists while starting all 21 games this season for Minnesota.
With Towns sidelined, the Timberwolves likely will lean even more on third-year guard Anthony Edwards and offseason acquisition Rudy Gobert. Edwards recorded 29 points and eight rebounds on Monday while Gobert contributed 19 and seven, respectively.
“We’re going to have to look at what our options are with who else is available at that point,” Finch said. “We’ll just have to figure that out.”
The Timberwolves also will need to figure out how to put the clamps on their extremely generous defense. Minnesota surrendered a then-season-high 137 points to Golden State on Sunday before Washington did the Warriors five better the following night.
Enter the Grizzlies, who have averaged scoring 129.5 points during their modest two-game winning streak.
Ja Morant tied a franchise record with his fifth career triple-double on Sunday. He collected 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in Memphis’ 127-123 win over the New York Knicks.
“Well, I told (Morant) at one point that I think they are throwing the kitchen sink at ya, and he had a big smile on his face,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “… He just had poise and was talking to his bigs about the screen angles and talking about the spacing with the shooters around. Tons of credit to him to figure out how to manipulate the offense.”
A winded Morant tipped his hat to both the Knicks and his teammates in his postgame interview with Bally Sports.
“(The Knicks) threw the whole book at me … they just had bodies in front of me pretty much the whole night,” Morant said. “I know my teammates are capable of scoring. I passed them the ball and they make me look good.”
Morant nearly had another triple-double on Nov. 11 after recording 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the Grizzlies’ 114-103 victory over the Timberwolves.
Dillon Brooks recorded 23 points and five rebounds on Sunday and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 and five, respectively. Brooks scored 21 points in his previous encounter with Minnesota.
Edwards made 10 of 16 shots from the floor — including 3 of 4 from 3-point range — to finish with a team-high 28 points to pace the Timberwolves in the first game against the Grizzlies.