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NBA Playoffs 2022: Grizzlies eliminate Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS — The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t played their age in this first-round series against Minnesota, especially when they faced double-digit deficits – all three times – in the fourth quarter.

With another unyielding and determined finish, the Grizzlies finished off the Timberwolves. Your next challenge is coming fast: the Golden State Warriors.

Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks each scored 23 points and the Grizzlies rallied again to eliminate the Timberwolves, winning Friday night’s Game 6 114-106.

“I wish we had better starts so we didn’t have to put ourselves in this predicament,” Brooks said, “but we’ll always find a way to fight.”

Brandon Clarke added 17 points and 11 rebounds in another stellar performance off the bench for the Grizzlies, who withstood another quiet night from Star Ja Morant and another double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter.

“We stick together, stay on the same page, and I think this series really showed that on the big stage,” said Bane, who led the Grizzlies in rating the series.

Ja Morant (right) celebrates with Desmond Bane in the Grizzlies' 114-106 win over the Timberwolves.
Ja Morant (right) celebrates with Desmond Bane in the Grizzlies’ 114-106 win over the Timberwolves.
USA TODAY sports

The Grizzlies made the playoffs for the first time in seven years, this time against Golden State, the 2015, 2017 and 2018 NBA champions. Game 1 takes place in Memphis on Sunday.

“Physically and mentally this streak has been a struggle,” said a visibly drained Morant, who went off the field 4 to 14 and had 17 points and 11 assists. “Obviously the wins outside of Game 2 were pretty ugly, but we pulled it off.”

Anthony Edwards had 16 of his 30 points in the first quarter for Minnesota. Jaden McDaniels had 24 points off the bench and Karl-Anthony Towns added 18 points and 10 rebounds, but late-game struggles were again evident.

“We showed it in our shot selection in the fourth and it’s burned into our DNA now,” said coach Chris Finch. “We know we have to learn from this. We won’t all be able to save the day.”

With the Grizzlies already becoming the first team in NBA history to win multiple games in the same playoff series by erasing a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter, the here-we-go-again feeling was in the building at 84- 74 The Wolves’ lead at the break in the third quarter was quickly gone.

Desmond Bane, who scored 23 points, lays up in the Grizzlies' series-winning win over the Timberwolves.
Desmond Bane, who scored 23 points, lays up in the Grizzlies’ series-winning win over the Timberwolves.
USA TODAY sports

Bane and Brooks each hit 3 points midway through the fourth, and Brooks fouled just 26 seconds after leveling the 97 point tally.

“I think they thought I was going to do 1 for 10 again. I am a pro. I’m figuring everything out,” said Brooks, who went 9-for-19, including 5-for-6 from deep.

Bane then hit another from deep at 3:03 for a 101-99 lead, the first for the Grizzlies since they led 39-38.

The killing shot came shortly after for a Wolves team that, like so many others against the Grizzlies this season, has been consistently a step and a leap behind the glass.

Tyus Jones missed a pair of 3-pointers off the wing on the same possession, but the Grizzlies both rebounded – and Morant used the second for a layup and a four-point lead.

After McDaniels, who had the game of his two-year career, hit a 3 with 1:34 left to put Wolves back to one, Jones – the former Timberwolves player and a Minnesota native – responded with a 3-pointer to complete the game to come across with 1:09 trace back to two possessions.

Despite the devastation of the two wasted leads in defeat earlier in the series and the franchise’s untrustworthy history, fans once again emerged to give Wolves a clear advantage.

Former Timberwolves star Latrell Sprewell sat on the sidelines, a few seats away from Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen, who hails from Minnesota. Local head coaches PJ Fleck (Gophers soccer), Ben Johnson (Gophers basketball) and Cheryl Reeve (Lynx) were also on the premises as fans clutched neon blue glow sticks for the duration of the night in the packed downtown arena.

Finch and Towns clapped and waved to fans as they left the pitch after the game to acknowledge the support throughout the season.

“How much this city, this team has given me has really made me want to enjoy basketball again,” Towns said.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/30/nba-playoffs-2022-grizzlies-eliminate-timberwolves/ NBA Playoffs 2022: Grizzlies eliminate Timberwolves

JOE HERNANDEZ

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