MEMPHIS, Tenn. — First, Ja Morant gave the Memphis Grizzlies and their followers a much-needed vitality increase by flying by the air for an enormous dunk on the finish of the third quarter.
Then the All-Star guard took over the sport’s remaining two minutes.
Morant scored the final 11 factors for Memphis, and his layup with a second left capped the Grizzlies’ massive rally from 11 factors down within the fourth quarter to edge the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-109 on Tuesday night time and seize a 3-2 lead of their first-round Western Conference sequence.
‘Go get a bucket. Ja,’ Morant stated of the game-winning play.
Morant, named the NBA’s most improved participant on Monday, struggled mightily a lot of the sport. But he turned it on within the fourth quarter, scoring 18 factors – together with 9 of 10 on the free-throw line. His lone 3 of the sport got here with 1:03 left, giving Memphis its first lead for the reason that first quarter.
‘Obviously, he had an excellent fourth quarter,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins stated.
The Grizzlies level guard got here from the low put up because the Grizzlies inbounded the ball with 3.7 seconds left and misplaced Anthony Edwards on the high of the important thing. That left him an open lane into the paint he is so hardly ever had on this sequence, beating Jarred Vanderbilt along with his left hand on an underhanded layup.
Edwards stated he wished to attempt to steal the ball.
‘Dumb mistake,’ Edwards stated.
Morant completed with 30 and had 13 rebounds and 9 assists. Desmond Bane added 25 factors, and Brandon Clarke had 21 off the bench for Memphis, and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 12 earlier than fouling out.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 28 factors and 12 rebounds. Anthony Edwards had 22, and D’Angelo Russell added 12 and Taurean Prince 10.
Game 6 is Friday night time again in Minnesota with the Wolves now making an attempt to pressure a seventh sport Sunday again in Memphis.
‘It’s a troublesome capsule to swallow,” Towns stated. ‘You really feel such as you obtained it after all of the errors made and every thing like that. We hit an enormous 3 to tie the sport up with 4 seconds (left). You really feel good. You be ok with going into extra time and having an opportunity to win the sport. Just a studying expertise.’
The Timberwolves led 99-88 with 6:58 left after three free throws by Towns, and Jackson fouling out for a second straight sport. The Grizzlies responded with a 10-0 run to arrange an exhilarating end to what had been an unpleasant, poor-shooting sport, and outscored Minnesota 37-24 within the fourth.
Edwards tied it up at 109 for Minnesota with a 3 with 3.7 seconds left. That arrange Morant for the ultimate drive to the basket for the game-winner to start out the celebration.
Clarke stated he informed Morant in the course of the hug he thanked God the Grizzlies have him on their group.
“Thank God that you’re as good as you are because we had just fought so hard,’ Clarke said. “And hit a extremely powerful 3. And I used to be similar to, it is nice, although, as a result of we obtained 12 and we obtained a participant that may make a extremely, actually big-time end. And I used to be like, ‘Yeah, thank God that we obtained you, man.”
Jenkins was fined $15,000 Monday for criticizing the officiating after Game 4, a 119-118 win by Minnesota. On Tuesday, his Grizzlies obtained to the free-throw line greater than Minnesota – they only did not shoot properly as soon as there, making 26 of 39 in comparison with Minnesota’s 21 of 24.
The Grizzlies opened the sport on a 13-2 run and regarded appreciated the group that earned the best seed in franchise historical past.
Then Jackson obtained his second foul on Patrick Beverley’s 3 and went to the bench. The Timberwolves, the NBA’s finest 3-point capturing group within the common season, began flattening pictures, going 7 of 11 exterior the arc and main 31-28 on the finish of the primary quarter.
Minnesota was up 55-53 at halftime, then outscored Memphis 30-21 within the third. But Morant capped the quarter with a windmill dunk that helped give the Grizzlies some much-needed vitality.
Timberwolves: Russell got here in 17 of 55 total and 9 of 24 from past the arc on this sequence. He knocked down his first two pictures Tuesday, a pair of back-to-back 3s, and completed 2 of 4 from 3 and 4 of 10 from the ground. … Beverley had their first four-point play within the postseason at 8:14 of the primary quarter.
Grizzlies: Memphis outrebounded Minnesota 53-42, together with 18-6 on the offensive glass. That led to 23 second-chance factors for the Grizzlies. Bane obtained a technical within the second quarter for shoving Timberwolves coach Chris Finch. Bane additionally opened the sport along with his twentieth 3-point on this sequence. … Ziaire Williams performed 4 minutes and didn’t end the sport with a sore proper knee.
ON THE BOARDS
Memphis outrebounded Minnesota 53-42, together with 18-6 on the offensive glass. That led to 23 second-chance factors for the Grizzlies. Clarke had 15 rebounds, 9 offensive.
‘He’s at all times in the proper spot on the proper time,” Towns said of Clarke. “You go up for a block, and he magically round proper on the precise spot the place the ball is coming off.”
IN THE CROWD
Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph had been former Grizzlies in attendance together with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Kentucky coach John Calipari sat close to the Timberwolves’ bench. Alex Rodriguez, a Minnesota co-owner, additionally was in attendance, and Usher was readily available as properly sitting subsequent to Morant’s father Tee.
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