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USATSI

Two young, talented teams in the Western Conference go head-to-head in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs when the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies take on the No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies are fresh off one of the best regular seasons in franchise history, while the Wolves earned their spot in the series by besting the Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in tournament. 

With Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell on Minnesota and Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. on Memphis, the series boasts no shortage of star power, and as such it should prove to be extremely entertaining, For what it's worth, the teams split their four regular-season matchups, with both teams winning twice. Here's what you need to know about the series along with three key storylines.

(2) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (7) Minnesota Timberwolves

All times Eastern

  • Game 1: Timberwolves 130, Grizzlies 117
  • Game 2: Grizzlies 124, Timberwolves 96
  • Game 3: Grizzlies 104, Timberwolves 95  
  • Game 4: Timberwolves 119, Grizzlies 118  
  • Game 5 (at MEM): Tuesday, April 26 | 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
  • Game 6 (at MIN): Friday, April 29 | TBD | TV: TBD
  • Game 7* (at MEM): Sunday, May 1 | TBD | TV: TBD

*If necessary

Featured Game | Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

1. Anthony Edwards' playoff debut

The Timberwolves' second-year sensation Anthony Edwards makes his postseason debut in the series against Minnesota. Edwards had a stellar second season for Minnesota, as he posted averages of 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per performance. Along the way, Edwards looked a whole lot like a future All-Star. Players are truly tested in the postseason, though, as that's where reputations -- and legacies -- are made. It will be extremely interesting to see how Edwards fares in his first taste of postseason play. 

2. How will Minnesota slow Ja Morant?

The Grizzlies are a deep team, but when it comes to Memphis, Ja Morant is clearly the head of proverbial snake. When he's out on the floor, Morant is the catalyst for Memphis' offense and the team largely goes as he goes. Thus, Minnesota's approach to defending him will be critical. If the Wolves can put consistent pressure on Morant, and even force to ball out of his hands at times and make other players to beat them, they should give themselves a good opportunity to win. However, if Morant is able to consistently go off against Minnesota's defense, it could be a long series for the Timberwolves. 

3. A battle of high-powered offenses 

Both the Grizzlies and Timberwolves have potent offensive attacks, and that could result in an extremely high-scoring series. During the regular season, Memphis had the NBA's fourth-highest rated offense, while the Wolves had the seventh. The two teams also averaged the most points per game league-wide during the regular season, with the Wolves scoring an average of 115.9 points per performance, and the Grizzlies right behind them with 115.6. In other words, both teams can put up points in bunches. This means that whichever team is able to play some solid defense and limit the other team's production will give themselves a great chance of winning the series.