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Reply To: NBA • Friday Service Plays • 2/19/16

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Preview: Minnesota At Memphis

When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, February 19, 2016
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

Due to one significant injury and two big trades, the Memphis Grizzlies’ roster has been altered dramatically in the past 10 days. That new-look squad emerges from the All-Star break and begins a favorable stretch of the schedule when it hosts Minnesota on Friday.

Memphis lost star center Marc Gasol to a broken foot prior to the break and then traded away shooting guard Courtney Lee and key reserve Jeff Green prior to Thursday’s deadline. Forwards Chris Andersen and P.J. Hairston, as well as swingman Lance Stephenson, joined the Grizzlies, who begin the stretch run in fifth place in the Western Conference. While the roster jells, Memphis can look forward to seven sub-.500 opponents in the next nine games, including two meetings apiece against Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Timberwolves, who stood pat at the deadline, won three of four before the break but are getting close to clinching their 11th consecutive losing season.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Southeast (Memphis)

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (17-37): Minnesota was involved in many rumors before the deadline, most surrounding veteran shooting guard Kevin Martin and point guard Ricky Rubio. Instead, the squad will try to build on victories before the break against a trio of quality opponents – Toronto, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers – and feel-good wins by Zach LaVine (dunk contest) and Karl-Anthony Towns (skill competition) at All-Star Weekend. LaVine started alongside Rubio in the backcourt in the win over the Raptors as part of a young, athletic lineup that coach Sam Mitchell will likely feature down the stretch.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (31-22): JaMychal Green received the first start in place of Gasol in a 109-90 win over Brooklyn on Feb. 10 and responded with a career high-tying 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. The second-year pro is averaging 8.7 points while shooting 55.6 percent in three starts this season and has totaled 16 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes against Minnesota. Lee and Jeff Green ranked third and fourth, respectively, in 3-point attempts for the Grizzlies, who may look to Stephenson – a 42.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc since the beginning of November – contribute a bit from the perimeter.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Minnesota is averaging 110.8 points in five games this month.

2. Towns has recorded nine consecutive double-doubles.

3. Grizzlies PG Mike Conley has 77 assists against 14 turnovers in 11 games since returning from an Achilles injury.

PREDICTION: Grizzlies 101, Timberwolves 99