GAME NIGHT: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 23, 2022
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves hope to finish what they started this time around and draw even with the visiting Memphis Grizzlies in their best-of-seven playoff series when the Western Conference teams meet in Game 4 on Saturday night at Minneapolis.
The second-seeded Grizzlies rebounded from a 130-117 shellacking at home in Game 1 to ride a stingy defense to 124-96 and 104-95 victories in Games 2 and 3 to take a 2-1 lead in a matchup with the seventh-seeded Timberwolves.
Minnesota seemed to be on a path toward duplicating its opening success when it put up 39 points in the first quarter and then 32 in the third, while leading by as many as 26 points in Game 3 at home Thursday.
The Timberwolves shot 52.2 percent (4 of 7 on 3-pointers) and 50.0 percent (5 of 8 on threes) in their dominant quarters respectively, running up a combined 71-44 advantage in those two periods alone.
But Memphis made up for it and more in the second and fourth periods, limiting Minnesota to 12 points in each while first getting back into the game, and then rallying late for the critical win.
The Timberwolves shot 27.8 percent (2 of 9 on threes) and 15.8 percent (1 of 11 on threes) in the two quarters that spelled their downfall. They were swamped 60-24 over those decisive 24 minutes.
The Timberwolves led for more than 39 of the 48 minutes in the game. They went up 12-0 before the Grizzlies knew what hit them, then extended to 26 points at 47-21 by the third minute of the second quarter.
But the Grizzlies rallied twice, prompting their coach, Taylor Jenkins, to admit afterward, “Don’t really know how we did it.”
A 21-0 flurry bridging the third and fourth quarters got Memphis even and allowed its defense to dictate matters in the final minutes.
“It all just kind of happened so fast,” said Memphis’ Brandon Clarke, who had four key offensive rebounds and eight boards in all, helping the Grizzlies outrebound the Timberwolves 48-41. “It was looking like we had lost, for sure.”
The Timberwolves might have been shut out in a critical stretch, but D’Angelo Russell insisted the game was lost at the other end of the court.
“This series is all about defense,” Russell said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with our offense.”
Memphis outscored Minnesota 37-12 in the fourth quarter, shooting 12 of 23 (52.2 percent) and retrieving five of its misses with offensive rebounds.
The biggest difference between Timberwolves’ wins and losses has been the offensive production of Karl-Anthony Towns. After shooting 11 of 18 and totaling 29 points in the Game 1 win, he has been harassed into just 11 total shots and 23 total points in the losses.
Grizzlies star Ja Morant has seen his number go down over the course of the series as well, from 32 points to 23 and then to 16 in Game 3. But his supporting cast has been better, with Clarke, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. combining for six efforts of 16 or more points.
Led by Clarke, the Memphis bench has outscored Minnesota 133-108, shooting 54.3 percent as opposed to the Timberwolves’ 42.7 percent.
Game 5, which would be the potential series clincher should the Grizzlies win Saturday, is scheduled for Tuesday in Memphis.
Stats and Records
|4/21/22||MEM 104||MIN 95||104||48||42.2||95||41||38.8|