Grizzlies Beat Timberwolves In Game 2 To Tie Up The Series

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The Minnesota Timberwolves made a statement in Game 1 of their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. The 7-seed, who got the the postseason by way of the play-in tournament, walked into Memphis and knocked off the 2-seed by double-digits, making clear that they were not going to be a pushover against a Grizzlies team with a whole lot of hype.

Instead of backing down after suffering an emphatic home loss, Memphis rallied on Tuesday night to demolish Minnesota and even things up as the series shifts to Minneapolis. By the time the game came to an end, both teams were running out their backups and the Grizzlies picked up a 124-96 win.

The first quarter was a cagey affair defined by fouls — according to Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN, the 33 combined free throws by both teams was tied for the most in any opening frame in the last 25 years — leading to a one-point Grizzlies lead. But then, the avalanche came, as Memphis spent much of the second and third quarters running the Timberwolves out of the building.

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Unsurprisingly, Ja Morant led the charge. The Grizzlies’ star guard was the engine that made the whole thing work for the first three quarters of the game, nearly having a triple-double by the time he ran to the locker room before the fourth quarter began due to an inadvertent Karl-Anthony Towns knee to his thigh. He barely fell short in his quest for a triple-double but was nonetheless spectacular, scoring 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting with 10 assists, nine rebounds, and a steal.

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In total, seven members of the Grizzlies scored in double-digits. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane both had 16, with Jackson causing the highlight of the night when he cleaned up a miss by Dillon Brooks with a putback slam.

Beyond them, Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman, and Ziaire Williams all had 13 off the bench, while Tre Jones pitched in 10 of his own. As a team, the Grizzlies shot 44-for-92 from the field and did not trail after the 4:20 mark of the first quarter.

While Anthony Edwards and Towns led the way for the Timberwolves, they were unable to have the kind of impact that made up for the sheer number of guys who were able to score for Memphis. Towns struggled with foul trouble en route to 15 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes of work, while Edwards was nowhere near as hot as he was in Game 1, going for 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting.

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Now, the series will head up north, where the Timberwolves have already won this postseason — the team beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the Target Center in the 7/8 play-in game to earn a spot in this series. Game 3 will tip off on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

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