Towns and T-Wolves bounce back on even streak with Grizzlies at 2 | Sports News


By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports Reporter

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Angry after two tough games, Karl-Anthony Towns had to channel his emotions productively — a skill he’s still trying to master.

Towns found peace at the free throw line. Seventeen tries gave him plenty of time to stay calm.

He roared with a career-high 33 points and 14 rebounds in the playoffs, helping the Timberwolves recover from their Game 3 slump and claim a 119-118 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night to tie the series of the first round at 2-2. .

“Just by taking a chill pill, calming down and understanding the next game, there’s another chance,” said Towns, who hit 14 of his foul shots, including a pair with 4.4 seconds left. .

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Anthony Edwards scored 24 points and backup Jordan McLaughlin, who didn’t play in Game 3, went 4-for-4 from 3-point range for 16 points.

The Timberwolves relentlessly attacked the basket and were rewarded with 40 free throws, 31 of which they made. Memphis was called up for 33 fouls.

“I’ve never seen a game officiated more inconsistent and arrogant,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “I’ll take any hit that comes my way.”

Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant offered to cover their coach’s inevitable fine. Memphis’ starting five committed 25 fouls compared to Minnesota’s 23 total fouls.

“Terrible,” said Morant, who committed four fouls. “I don’t even make a mistake like that.”

Desmond Bane, who hit his eighth 3-pointer at the buzzer to finish with 34 points, got the Grizzlies going early. Brooks, with 24 points, helped them stay late. It was another quiet night for Morant, the star point guard who had 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting with 15 assists and eight rebounds.

“I’m not Ja right now,” said Morant, who indicated he wasn’t full. “I don’t play above the edge.”

The series returns to Memphis for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

“Even after all, you still only win the game by one. It just shows you the margin of error in this game and then the playoffs, especially when you’re playing a team like this,” said Towns, who took four shots and had just eight points in the third. match.

Patrick Beverley missed two free throws with 43 seconds left. As Wolves led 115-110, Morant responded with a lay-up and Edwards missed a pull-up 3. But Tyus Jones lost his 3-pointer with 10.5 seconds remaining, and Edwards grabbed the rebound . He sank both free throws as the crowd chanted, “Wolves in six! Wolves in six!

McLaughlin’s top 3 put Minnesota ahead in the second quarter to start a 17-1 run that peaked with a 50-35 lead – the biggest of the night that was quickly reduced by the Grizzles to one. figure.

Game 3 was an anomaly, given that the Timberwolves were only the ninth NBA team in 389 situations over the last 25 playoffs to lead by more than 25 points and lose the game, according to ESPN.

And while that fits perfectly into the Minnesota sports scene that for decades has been filled with such disappointment, the crowd didn’t stop trying to create a boisterous advantage on Saturday.

Troy Hudson and Wally Szczerbiak, stars of the last Timberwolves team that captivated the city in 2004, were pitchside with an endless supply of high-fives for fans seated nearby.

When Towns swept a 3 off the sidelines on the first possession, a throw-like roar followed.

Towns knew how critical the game was and came out with a ferocity suggesting he knew precisely how badly he had been criticized for his Game 3 miss. When he hit his opening 3, he looked down at his hands and didn’t yell at anyone in particular about the importance of passing the ball to him.

“Exactly what we needed from him,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “Just aggressive, putting pressure on them, forcing them to denounce.”

Bodies slammed into the ground on nearly every possession in what was perhaps the series’ most physical game to date. Morant, who played despite lingering leg injuries, made several hard landings after layup attempts.

Grizzlies backup Ziaire Williams suffered an eye injury in the second quarter, when Morant flagrantly fouled D’Angelo Russell as he headed for the hoop and grabbed a hand to the face.

Edwards went off a bit in the first quarter with an unrelated right knee injury in no contact, but after struggling to walk to the locker room for further examination, returned less than 3 minutes later with no issues .

“Everyone is playing something, you know?” Edwards said.

Two other animal rights protesters tried to stop the game in the third quarter. A woman jumped over the seats of Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife, Becky, before being tackled by security and carried away. Her mate stayed behind the Taylors and next to the second row of Timberwolves assistant coaches, who helped security fight her off.

The group protested the way a chicken farm part of Taylor’s business allegedly handled an outbreak of bird flu. The highly contagious virus has killed around 28 million poultry.

Grizzlies: Xavier Tillman started at center, the Grizzlies’ fourth player in the series in a first-half lineup to join Jaren Jackson Jr. in the frontcourt. Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson and Steven Adams took turns. … Jackson fouled with seven runs. “Jaren knows the player he is. We know the player he is,” Clarke said. “He’ll be fine.”

Timberwolves: Beverley had 17 points. … Jarred Vanderbilt had 12 points and eight rebounds.

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