There will be no Game 7 on this first round of the 2022 playoffs. After Philadelphia, Phoenix and Dallas the day before, it was the Grizzlies who finished the job away to move on to the next round by winning in six sleeves. As in the last meeting between the two teams, Minnesota burned a good lead in the final, and Memphis finished strong, winning after a tough fight.
The start of the game showcased the offensive qualities of both teams, with a long distance duel between snipers Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks, who made it 14-21, and Jaden McDaniels, who responded with three baskets to 3-points to put Wolves back in the lead (24-22).
With an Anthony Edwards involved from the start (16 points in the first quarter) and a Russell-Towns duo a little more prominent in the second quarter, the locals managed to race in the lead until the break , even if the Grizzlies were far from having said their last word (52-49).
The Russell-Edwards-Towns trio stayed the course, rising to +13 following a 2+1 and a half-distance basket from Karl-Anthony Towns (66-53). In difficulty until then, Ja Morant recovered by aligning two baskets with the fault, and Memphis returned to -1 with the help of an also more incisive Dillon Brooks (69-68).
A scenario that Minnesota has already experienced this season seemed to be looming. Except that this time, Pat Beverley’s 3-pointers and Jaden McDaniels’ 7 straight points revived the locals with a 10-0 (84-72).
But the 3-pointers from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Tyus Jones quickly put Memphis back in the mix at the start of the fourth quarter (84-80). The hour of the knockout approached and the Grizzlies refused to abdicate, returning once again to -3 following a floater from space signed Tyus Jones (94-91), before equalizing twice on missiles from Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks (97-97).
The exit for six faults of the latter in the process did not calm the ardor of the troops of Taylor Jenkins, who took the advantage for the first time in the second half on a 3-pointer in the corner of Desmond Bane (99-101). In the process, Ja Morant finished near the circle after two heroic offensive rebounds from the point guard and Brandon Clarke (99-103).
At the last second of possession, Tyus Jones then responded to Jaden McDaniels’ 3-pointer with a basket behind the arc at the head of the racket (102-106). The “clutch” action too much for Minnesota, which cracked in the final by conceding a dunk from Jaren Jackson Jr. synonymous with victory and qualification in the conference semi-finals for Memphis (106-114).
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Never two without three. For the third time in the series, Minnesota collapsed after going ten or more points up in the final quarter. In this match, even though they were 12 points ahead with one minute remaining in the third half, Wolves failed to finish off these tough-skinned Grizzlies.
– Money-time management. Memphis, however, did not show up in the best possible mood, losing Dillon Brooks for six fouls. But the management of the Grizzlies’ last possessions, with the 3-point “clutch” of Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones contrasted with the questionable and hasty choices of Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns in particular, he who took two quick shots without finding target.
✅ The Bane Brooks duo. To support a struggling Ja Morant in attack, Memphis was able to count on his two lieutenants, both at 23 points: Desmond Bane, still the author of a big game, punctuated by this 3-point full of composure from the corner who helped tip the game in favor of his own, and Dillon Brooks who shone in the role of silent sniper, with his 5/6 from 3-pointers
✅ The Jones-Clarke pair. Tyus Jones also ended the game by scoring a decisive 3-pointer, and had distinguished himself until then by the accuracy of his attacking game and his efficiency (11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in just 14 minutes ). Brandon Clarke for his part made Brandon Clarke, with an impressive burst of energy, in particular on the rebound and a mixture of aggressiveness and efficiency near the circle which weighed on the Wolves defense.
✅ Jaden McDaniels. A precious relay for Wolves off the bench with his 24 points at 5/6 at 3-points. He only missed the victory to be the hero of the evening.
✅⛔ Anthony Edwards. The sophomore fullback started the game with a bang and took on the responsibility of defending on Ja Morant afterwards. This is perhaps also why we saw him less after the break, and that he gradually lacked lucidity in his choices over the match, falling back into his ways. But there is no doubt that Minnesota has a hell of a player there.
⛔ Karl Anthony Towns. Brilliant in the regular season, the interior was generally disappointing in this series. The revealer of the playoffs is merciless, and KAT suffered enormously, with to top it off bad choices at the end of the match.
The Grizzlies host the Warriors on Sunday (9:30 p.m.)