|Streaking Towns leads T-Wolves against Grizzlies|
While Karl-Anthony Towns is performing at a high level of late, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not, especially on the road.
Towns attempts to get his seventh straight double-double while Minnesota hopes to end a five-game losing streak and a nine-game road losing streak Saturday night when it visits the Memphis Grizzlies.
Towns is one away from matching his longest double-double streak of the season. He also posted seven straight double-doubles from Dec. 3-17 and from Dec. 26-Jan. 6.
The center's double-double streak started two weeks ago when he totaled 40 points and 15 rebounds in a five-point overtime win over Washington two weeks ago. He sat out the next night with a knee injury against the New York Knicks, but his last five double-doubles are occurring in a losing streak where Minnesota has not lost by fewer than seven points and has not scored more than 107 points.
Towns produced his latest double-double by getting 21 and 16 boards, but Minnesota took a 113-106 loss at Charlotte on Thursday and dropped to 9-29 on the road.
Towns is averaging 31.3 points and 14 rebounds on 56.1 percent shooting since the All-Star break but the Wolves (32-40) are 4-10 in their last 14 games and winless on the road since beating New York on Feb. 22 in a game Towns sat out.
"That is something that we expect from the level that Karl has played at," Minnesota interim coach Ryan Saunders said. "We are going to continue to get better as a team. We will learn from that in terms of getting help in areas and also making plays out of there, too."
Among the help Saunders may be referring to is Andrew Wiggins, who scored 20 points for the second straight game Thursday. Wiggins has scored at least 20 points in three straight games on two previous occasions. The fifth-year veteran is averaging 16.9 points on 44.5 percent from the field in his last seven games after shooting 38.8 percent in nine games last month.
The Wolves were officially eliminated from postseason contention Friday, a day after shutting down Robert Covington (right knee), Derrick Rose (sore right elbow) and Jeff Teague (left foot) for the rest of the season.
Besides that trio, Taj Gibson is questionable for Saturday with a left calf strain that he injured Tuesday against Golden State.
Memphis (29-43) owns the third-worst record in the West but is playing better of late. From Dec. 29-Feb. 23, the Grizzlies lost 22 of 27 games but since then they are 6-5 with five of those wins coming at home.
Mike Conley is averaging 27 points and 7.4 assists on 51.7 percent shooting and 48.8 percent from 3-point range in his last seven games but sat out Friday with general soreness when Memphis blew a 17-point lead and was handed a 123-119 overtime loss at Orlando.
Tyler Dorsey started for Conley and set career highs with 29 points and nine assists while Jonas Valanciunas totaled 23 points and a career-high 24 rebounds. The big nights by Dorsey and Valanciunas occurred on a night when the Grizzlies were outscored 42-24 after the third quarter.
"It was a heck of a duel going down the stretch," Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "Guys were making plays, making shots, they just made one more play than we did."
Conley is expected to play Saturday and he is 30 points shy of passing Marc Gasol as the Grizzlies' all-time leading scorer.
The Grizzlies are 7-3 in their last 10 home games and their hot stretch in Memphis began with a 108-106 win over Minnesota on Feb. 5 when Conley scored 25 points and Justin Holliday hit the game-winning free throws with less than a second remaining.
--Field Level Media