Yet another double-figure fourth quarter lead evaporated for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, and as a result, the Memphis Grizzlies are moving on to the Western Conference Semifinals. Memphis picked up a 114-106 road win in Game 6, and as a result, the 2-seed won the franchise’s first playoff series since 2015, 4-2.
Anthony Edwards came out firing for Minnesota. In the biggest game of his NBA career to this point, Edwards went for 16 first quarter points and made six of his seven attempts from the field.
That sentiment also applied to the 1-2 punch of Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks. While the Timberwolves led after one, 29-28, the Grizzlies’ pair of wings combined to score 23 points and pummeled the Minnesota defense from deep early on.
As he’s started to do throughout the series, Brandon Clarke came off the bench and made his presence felt in the second quarter. A handful for the Timberwolves frontcourt all series, Clarke had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half.
Still, Minnesota held a 52-49 halftime lead as Edwards would end up hitting the 20-point mark by halftime, while Karl-Anthony Towns started getting into a groove before the half, taking nine points and five boards into the locker room.
The third quarter ended up being defined by runs. The Timberwolves came out of the halftime break and immediately went on one, opening up a double-digit lead thanks to a 14-4 run. But eventually, the Grizzlies made a run of their own — the team scored 13 consecutive points to cut the deficit to one.
Then, after the two teams traded baskets, Minnesota got its lead back up to double-digits by going on yet another run. This one saw McDaniels score seven straight and the team score 10 in a row before Clarke got to the free throw line and stopped the bleeding for the Grizzlies. But the damage was done, and as a result, the Timberwolves held an 84-74 lead heading into the game’s final frame.
As they’ve shown throughout this season, though, Memphis is a very difficult team to bury. They chipped away at the Minnesota lead throughout the fourth quarter, and tied things up thanks to a three by Bane just before the halfway point of the period. While Edwards came right back and canned a triple of his own, Brooks was able to hit yet another three to bring the teams level.
Memphis took their first lead of the half with less than three minutes remaining, when Clarke hit Bane in the corner off of an offensive rebound for a triple. On the team’s ensuing possession, Clarke and Morant grabbed offensive boards and, eventually, Morant was able to glide to the rim for a layup and a 4-point Grizzlies lead.
McDaniels got the Timberwolves back within one with a triple, but Memphis came right back down and Tyus Jones hit a three as the shot clock expired to give them a little breathing room.
Jordan McLaughlin, who provided a steady hand all game off the bench, got Minnesota a bucket out of a timeout, but Jaren Jackson Jr. provided the exclamation point on a win. Morant drove to the rim and dumped it off the Clarke, who saw Jackson standing under the rim. Clarke made the pass and Jackson dunked through contact.
Bane and Brooks both had 23 points to lead the Grizzlies, while Bane pitched in seven rebounds. Jackson had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds, Clarke and Morant each had 17 — the former supplemented that with 11 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks, while the latter had 11 assists and eight rebounds. Edwards led the way for Minnesota with 30 points, five assists, five rebounds, two blocks, and two steals, while McDaniels scored 24 and Towns had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.
As for what is waiting for them on the horizon, Memphis holds home-court advantage in the conference semifinals and won the regular season series with Golden State, 3-1. Game 1 of their series will tip off on Sunday, May 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.