Desmond Bane made seven 3-pointers and had 26 points and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 26-point deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-95 on Thursday night for a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Brandon Clarke scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half for Memphis, and Ja Morant had a quiet triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Tyus Jones hit two dagger 3-pointers against his former team down the stretch, and the Grizzlies seized back home-court advantage. They stunned a Wolves team that won Game 1 on the road 130-117, but took an ugly 124-96 loss in Game 2.
Game 4 is on Saturday night in Minneapolis.
D’Angelo Russell had 22 points and eight assists as the key driver of a third-quarter surge for the Wolves that pushed the lead back to 23 points, but he went 0 for 3 and was scoreless in the fourth. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota’s other max-contract player, had another clunker with eight points.
In this compelling matchup of Western Conference rivals with similar temperaments, fast-paced offences and young star guards in Morant and Anthony Edwards, yet another game swung wildly back and forth between the two sides before the Grizzlies flashed their moxie for the largest comeback playoff victory in franchise history.
After taking a 47-21 lead early in the second quarter with a deafening roar in the 32-year-old downtown arena as the soundtrack, the Wolves were outscored 15-0 over the final 5:45 of the second quarter by a Grizzlies team that’s been grappling with the same postseason inexperience and emotional immaturity resulting in bad shot selection and foolish, avoidable fouls.
After the NBA’s highest-scoring team made only 30 field goals in Game 2 to match a season low, the Wolves hit only 33 in Game 3. They went 8:34 of game time between the second and third quarters without a basket until Russell swished a 3.
Jones, who grew up in the Twin Cities and was drafted by the Timberwolves the same year as Towns, hit a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies their first lead at 86-85. Memphis never trailed again.
Grizzlies: Kyle Anderson started for the Grizzlies in place of Steven Adams, who was dominated by Towns in Game 1 and played only 3 minutes in Game 2. Adams didn’t leave the bench. Anderson had four points in 26 minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored just six points and had five fouls.
Timberwolves: Edwards had 19 points and seven rebounds in 40 minutes. Russell went 5 for 22 from the field in the first two games. He was 9 for 21 in Game 3.