MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies responded to shedding their first recreation as a No. 2 seed by getting again to how they play.
The end result? The largest margin of victory in franchise historical past in a playoff recreation and a close to triple-double by Ja Morant.
The All-Star level guard scored 23 factors, handed out 10 assists and grabbed 9 rebounds because the Grizzlies appeared way more just like the staff that posted the NBA’s second-best file, routing the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-96 on Tuesday night time to even up their first-round Western Conference collection at 1 apiece.
Morant went to the bench with 4:40 left to an enormous ovation and teammates telling him how shut he was to a triple-double.
“It was good to get that win,” Morant mentioned. “Obviously, you know, if you get a triple-double, it’s hard to do it in this league, so that’s special as well. But the win is the important thing, and we got that.”
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said Morant showed great balance along with the bench outscoring Minnesota 60-43 and defense fueling the offense.
“This is our recipe …,” Jenkins said. “This is the extra the model that we bought to play.”
Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. every added 16 with Jackson hitting 4 of seven from 3-point vary. Seven Grizzlies completed in double figures with Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman Sr. and Ziaire Williams every having 13. Tyus Jones added 10.
Game 3 is Thursday night time in Minneapolis.
Anthony Edwards, who scored 36 factors in his playoff debut in Game 1, led Minnesota with 20. All-Star middle Karl-Anthony Towns had 15 factors and 11 rebounds. Naz Reid and Taurean Prince had 12 every off the bench, and D’Angelo Russell added 11.
“It shows just how physical and locked in you’ve got to be every single night regardless of the opponent,” Towns mentioned. “A small lapse, psychological, and also you see what the sport comes out to be within the playoffs.”
The Timberwolves dominated the collection opener after scoring a franchise-record 41 factors within the first quarter.
This time, officers stayed very busy calling 20 fouls in a really lengthy first quarter. That stored the NBA’s high scoring groups within the common season from moving into any rhythm as they mixed to shoot 33 free throws.
Foul hassle compelled Jenkins to show to Tillman who did not play in Game 1, and he turned in one of the best playoff recreation of his younger profession.
The Grizzlies grabbed their greatest lead of this brief collection at 30-23 on a floater by Jones with 2:11 left, they usually led 33-32 after the primary quarter when Morant’s lengthy buzzer-beater try hit off the rim and off.
“Then our offense simply dried up. Our shot choice within the second quarter principally began the avalanche,” said Minnesota coach Chris Finch, who added that the Grizzlies also started controlling the glass. “That’s really where the game was won.”
The Grizzlies shot 48% from the floor compared to 40% for Minnesota. Both teams made 11 3s, a big difference from the series opener when Minnesota knocked down 16 of 41 compared to 7 of 27 for Memphis.
Memphis started running in the second and opened the quarter with an 11-2 run and finished on an 11-5 run for a 60-49 lead at halftime with Morant not scoring a point. Patrick Beverley summed up Minnesota’s struggles when his layup before the buzzer rolled off the rim.
The Grizzlies pushed that lead to as much as 27 with a 25-9 run in the third, and Morant scored 12 in the quarter hitting 5 of 7 shots, including both 3-pointers. His layup gave Memphis a 87-60 lead with 4:15 to go in the third, and the Grizzlies led 96-77 going into the fourth.
Minnesota was the NBA’s best-shooting team outside the arc and outscored Memphis 48-21 in Game 1 as the Grizzlies shooting 26% outside the arc with only three knocking down a 3-pointer. This time, Memphis shot 11-of-34 with six Grizzlies knocking down at least one.
Timberwolves: They had 30 field goals, matching the season low against Toronto on Feb. 16. … After knocking down 16 3s in Game 1, they were 11 of 38 (28.9%). … Russell now is 5 of 22 in this series.
Grizzlies: Entering the game had lost four of their last five games including the series opener. …Jackson, who matched his career high with seven blocks in the opener, had one Tuesday night. But he knocked down four 3s … D’Anthony Melton came in 8 of 26 from 3-point range. He was 2 of 6. … Adams played 2:50 after picking up two early fouls. … They had 29 assists and now are 29-1 when they have at least 28 assists.
It didn’t take long in the game for things to get a bit chippy. Officials called a foul on Towns early, then on the same play got Patrick Beverley for a technical after a swipe at Morant’s head. Then Adams got called for a foul that was upgraded to a flagrant 1 after he smacked Jarred Vanderbilt across the face. And all that was in the first three minutes.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Minneapolis.
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