ha morant scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists as memphis grizzlies looked much more like the team that posted the second-best record in the NBA, defeating the minnesota timber wolves 124-96 on Tuesday night to even their Western Conference first-round series at one apiece.
Morant went to the bench with 4:40 left to a standing ovation. He finished one rebound away from a triple-double. Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. each added 16 with Jackson shooting 4-for-7 from 3-point range as the Grizzlies finished with seven in double figures.
Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman and Ziaire Williams each had 13. Tyus Jones added 10.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Minneapolis.
Anthony Edwards, who scored 36 points in his playoff debut in Game 1, led Minnesota with 20. All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Naz Reid and Taurean Prince each had 12 off the bench, and D’Angelo Russell added 11.
The Timberwolves dominated Game 1 of the series after scoring a franchise-record 41 points in the first quarter.
This time, the referees were very busy calling 20 fouls in a very long first quarter. That kept the NBA’s highest-scoring teams in the regular season from getting into a rhythm when they combined to take 33 free throws.
At one point, Memphis had Steven Adams, Jackson, Clarke and Dillon Brooks on the bench with two fouls. That forced coach Taylor Jenkins to turn to Tillman, who didn’t play in Game 1 and delivered the best playoff game of his young career.
The Grizzlies took their biggest lead of this short drive at 30-23 on a float by Jones with 2:11 remaining, and led 33-32 after the first quarter when Morant’s long drive hit the rim and went wide.
Memphis hit the ground running in the second and opened the fourth with an 11-2 run and ended it with an 11-5 run for a 60-49 halftime lead with Morant not scoring a point. Patrick Beverley summed up Minnesota’s struggles when his layup before the buzzer sounded rolled through the rim.
The Grizzlies extended that lead to 27 with a 25-9 run in the third, and Morant scored 12 in the fourth on 5-for-7 shooting, including both 3-pointers. His layup gave Memphis an 87-60 lead with 4:15 left in the third, and the Grizzlies led 96-77 entering the fourth.
Minnesota was the best shooting team outside the arc in the NBA and outscored Memphis 48-21 in Game 1 as the Grizzlies shot 26% outside the arc on just three 3-pointers. This time, Memphis shot 11 for 34 with six Grizzlies downing at least one.
Associated Press report.
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