MINNEAPOLIS — After frittering away a double-digit-point fourth-quarter lead twice on this collection, the Minnesota Timberwolves may have already defeated the Memphis Grizzlies by now and be making ready for the second spherical.
The Timberwolves will attempt to stave off elimination by the Grizzlies in Game 6 on Friday evening as an alternative, aiming to indicate the league, their followers — and maybe themselves — that they’ve an ample provide of the late-game resolve wanted to be an element within the NBA playoffs.
What they do not essentially want, although, is one in all their stars to take over.
One of the primary explanation why the Wolves have been unproductive within the ultimate stretches of video games is a stagnant offense and compelled pictures from one of many trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards or D’Angelo Russell.
“Everybody wants to be the hero, and that’s not how you’re going to win these games,” coach Chris Finch mentioned after follow Thursday.
Edwards tied Game 5 with 3.7 seconds left on a fadeaway nook 3-pointer. The second-year guard has rapidly established himself as a real clutch participant, so having the ball in his fingers with the clock winding down is in no way a detrimental for Minnesota. The issues can come up, although, when there’s little passing to or from him to arrange the perfect seems on the basket.
“It was me. I was a lot of that, what Coach talked about,” Edwards mentioned, reflecting on his Game 5 decision-making. He had 22 factors however took 20 pictures to get there.
Russell has had some ill-advised makes an attempt, too, together with a 10-foot pull-up in visitors with 12.3 seconds left in Game 5 that missed badly.
Entering the collection, guard Patrick Beverley was the one participant on the Wolves with any postseason expertise of significance.
“We’re young,” Edwards mentioned. “I think we all know that, and we’re learning as we going.”
The Grizzlies are simply as inexperienced on this stage, however they have been the higher crew within the final half of the fourth quarter, even when the opposite 90% of the sport has principally gone the way in which of the Wolves. Ja Morant belied his age by fairly a bit in Game 5 by scoring his crew’s ultimate 13 factors, together with the last-second layup that lifted Memphis to victory.
The rally in Game 5 got here after Jaren Jackson Jr. fouled out, prompting coach Taylor Jenkins to go to a super-small lineup with Morant subsequent to Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke. Brooks and Clarke helped defend Towns, and Clarke dominated within the fourth quarter with seven of his 10 rebounds on the offensive finish. Memphis had a 12-0 scoring edge in second-chance factors within the ultimate interval, and Clarke completed with 21 factors and 15 rebounds off the bench.
The Grizzlies final superior to the second spherical in 2015, when none of their present gamers had been round, nor the teaching employees.
“I’m just focused on how we’re going to play our best basketball still. So hopefully come out with that physical edge, that mental edge you’re going to need,” Jenkins mentioned. “You just need to take it up a notch for sure on the road against a really tough team.”
Taking a early lead at Target Center may go a good distance towards sending the Grizzlies to a Game 1 on Sunday at Golden State.
“You don’t want to give a team like that any life,” Jones mentioned. “When you have a chance to close out an opponent in a playoff series, you’ve got to try to take advantage of it. We obviously don’t want this to go to a seventh game.”
GRIZZLIES at TIMBERWOLVES
Memphis leads 3-2. Game 6, 9 p.m. EDT, ESPN.
• NEED TO KNOW: The Grizzlies with a mean of 31.6 factors are outscoring the Wolves by 8.8 factors within the fourth quarter within the collection, by far the biggest disparity on this postseason.
• KEEP AN EYE ON: Bane. He averaged 30 factors and shot 15 of 27 exterior the arc in Games 3 and 4, the primary two video games in Minnesota. Bane joined Klay Thompson (three straight) and Stephen Curry (two) as solely the third participant in NBA historical past to make not less than seven 3-pointers in back-to-back playoff video games. He is taking pictures 48.3% from 3-point vary on the street this season for each the common season and playoffs.
• INJURY WATCH: Grizzlies heart Steven Adams entered the COVID-19 well being and security protocols and won’t play in Game 6. Backup ahead Ziaire Williams (proper knee soreness) was listed as uncertain for the sport. Morant and Edwards have each performed by way of minor leg accidents, however they haven’t been restricted in any means.
• PRESSURE IS ON: Brooks. He was 3 of 18 taking pictures in Game 5, together with 1 of 10 from 3-point vary, and completed with eight factors.
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