The Memphis Grizzlies won their first playoff series since 2015 after eliminating the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-106 in six games.
This young team that was eliminated by the top-seeded Utah Jazz just a year ago, have found themselves in the semi-finals led by a young core of hungry players that expected to be here. They had to overcome a double-digit deficit (84-74) heading into the final quarter for the third time this series and they handled it with expectancy, outscoring the Wolves 40-22.
Despite their All-Star JA Morant starting the game slow they kept pace throughout not letting the game get too far out of reach. Morant, who scored 30 points in Game 5 and had the game-winner, had just four points in the first half but he still impacted the game in other ways for his team. He had a game-high 11 assist to go along with his 17 points (9-12 FT).
“Physically, mentally, this series was a battle,” said a Morant, “Obviously, the wins were pretty ugly outside of Game 2, but we got it done.
Desmond Bane and Dillion Brooks picked up the scoring load for Memphis as they both scored 23 points. “I wish we got better starts so we don’t have to put ourselves in that predicament,” Brooks said, “but we’re always going to find a way to fight.”
“We stick together, stay on the same page, and I think it really showed on the big stage this series,” Bane said.
Jaren Jackson Jr. who fouled out of the previous two games was able to stay on the floor and help his team on both ends. He had a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Brandon Clarke, who has been big for this team in all six games this series came into this series averaging 10.4 ppg and he upped that to 16.4 ppg and 8.6 reb and he finished with a consecutive double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
This Wolves team has a bright future led by first-time All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards, a second-year guard out of the University of Georgia. “How much this city, this team has given me, really made me enjoy basketball again,” Towns said.
The second-year guard had a game-high 30 points (20 in 1st half) and received “MVP” chants from the home crowd in the 3rd quarter while at the free throw line. Towns had his fifth double-double this series with 18 pts and 10 rebounds. They each played 41 minutes.
“We showed it in our shot selection in the fourth, and it’s baked in our DNA right now,” head coach Chris Finch said. “We know we have to learn from this. We’re not all just going to be able to save the day.”
Another promising rookie that had his best game for this team Jaden McDaniels scored a career-high 24 points and made 5-6 from 3-pt. The vocal leader on this team Pat Beverly who came over in the offseason from the Los Angeles Clippers fouled in late in the 4th and showed his respect to the young Morant at the end of the game.
The Grizzlies will now travel back to Memphis and welcome Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. They won the season series 3-1.
Game 1 Sunday @12:30 PT
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