You wouldn’t be able to blame the Minnesota Timberwolves for feeling confident after their huge 130-117 Game 1 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies. However, if they thought they would again be able to dominate in Game 2, they were sorely mistaken. The largest lead they would have in Game 2 was four points, and that was with 8:43 left in the first quarter. The last lead they had was when they got ahead 23-21 with 4:11 left in the same period.
Memphis then began to chip away, and then turned the jets on in the second quarter to end up with a 60-49 lead at halftime. The Grizzlies, who were 50-9 in the season when leading at halftime, kept the trend going.
They were, as expected, led by their young superstar in Ja Morant. He had his full bag of tricks on display as he finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists in 30 minutes played while shooting 9 of 16 from the field.
Hell, Morant, the league’s leading third quarter scorer, even had a pair of stepback threes in the third quarter as he finished with 12 points in that pivotal period. He was also willing to give up his body to draw offensive fouls from Karl-Anthony Towns, which exemplifies the Grizzlies’ team-first attitude toward both offense and defense.
Speaking of team-first, Morant certainly didn’t win the game on his own. Six other Grizzlies scored in double figures and made huge contributions on both ends of the floor, and got a total of 60 points from their bench.
- Desmond Bane (16 points, four rebounds, four assists)
- Jaren Jackson Jr. (16 points, seven rebounds, one steal, one block)
- Brandon Clarke (13 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals)
- Xavier Tillman (13 points, seven rebounds)
- Zaire Williams (13 points, one rebound, one steal)
- Tyus Jones (10 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal)
Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell combined for 46 points for Minnesota, but it was nowhere near enough in the 124-96 defeat. This is an interesting series, because the Grizzlies took their 13-point Game 1 defeat and turned it into and more than doubled the margin of victory in their revenge performance in Game 2. We’ll have to see how both teams adjust, but this could be a fun series.
On a side note, the fun side rivalry between the elder Towns and Morant had another chapter added to it.
If you don’t remember, here was the interaction captured between them in Game 1.