The Memphis Grizzlies clawed back from a 26-point deficit to stun the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-95 on Thursday and take a 2-1 lead in their NBA playoff series.
Down 26 points in the second quarter and 25 with 3:10 left in the third, the Grizzlies held their nerve in Minneapolis, where they out-scored the Timberwolves 37-12 in the fourth quarter to match the fourth-largest comeback in NBA playoff history.
Desmond Bane scored 26 points and Brandon Clarke added 20 — 12 of them in the fourth quarter — off the bench for Memphis.
Ja Morant connected on just five of 18 shots from the field but put together a triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for Memphis, who used a 21-0 fourth-quarter scoring run to turn the tables on the Timberwolves.
“Everybody stayed with it, stayed resilient throughout the whole entire game,” Bane said. “Whether we were up, down, whatever — it was enough to get it done.”
Minnesota led 47-21 with 10:28 left in the second quarter when the Grizzlies mounted their first charge, trimming the deficit to seven points at halftime.
The Timberwolves regained the upper hand with a quick start to the third quarter, taking a 73-50 lead on Jaden McDaniels’ three-pointer with 4:28 left in the period.
D’Angelo Russell’s three-pointer with 3:10 left in the third put Minnesota up 79-54, and despite the Grizzlies’ scoring surge to end the period they trailed by 16 going into the fourth.
Bane drilled a three-pointer with 8:33 to play to cap a 21-0 scoring run that tied the game at 83-83.
Tyus Jones drained a three-pointer to put Memphis up for the first time, 86-85, and they didn’t trail again.
“It was just effort and fighting,” Clarke said. “We were down by, like 25, it was looking bad. But our team has always found a way this year.”
Russell led the Timberwolves with 22 points, but he missed all three of his shots from the field in a scoreless fourth and teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, limited by foul trouble and aggressive defense from the Grizzlies, was held to just eight points.
“It’s an emotional victory — coming from being down a lot,” Bane said, but he cautioned that there was still a lot of work to do in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.
“We’ve got to keep our heads. It’s first to four.”
Brunson powers Mavs
In Salt Lake City, the Dallas Mavericks took a 2-1 lead over the Utah Jazz in their series with a 126-118 victory.
Jalen Brunson shook off a sore back to score 31 points for Dallas.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 20 in the fourth quarter and Maxi Kleber added 17 as the Mavericks held off the Jazz despite again playing without injured star Luka Doncic, who has missed all three games of the series so far with a calf strain but appears set to return for game four.
Donovan Mitchell scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half for Utah, who cut the deficit to one point on Mike Conley’s three-pointer with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get in front.
“The most important thing was sticking together,” said Brunson, who appeared to hurt his back in the second quarter after Royce O’Neale collided with him.
He briefly left the court but returned to complete another big game.
“This is a tough place to play,” Brunson said. “Their fans are great for them. When they had their runs, we didn’t fold.”