The Memphis Grizzlies returned home for Game 5 of their first round series with the Minnesota Timberwolves. After up-and-down play in Minnesota, they were looking to take control and return to their standard of play — and to avoid falling to the brink of elimination.
The Memphis Grizzlies kicked off the game with their most emphatic start of the series. They were getting easy buckets and playing with a whole lot of force en route to a 13-2 start. The momentum was derailed when Jaren Jackson fouled Patrick Beverley on a made 3-pointer to give him his 2nd foul of the game. From there, the Timberwolves closed the gap and hung in with a flurry of 3’s, drilling 7 of their 11 triple tries. The Grizzlies survived the Minnesota barrage with strong play from Brandon Clarke (8 points and 4 rebounds) and from Desmond Bane (8 points), as they trailed 31-28 at the end of the 1st period.
The second quarter started with a John Konchar sighting — though that only lasted 3 minutes. The Grizzlies were down by as many as 10 in the second quarter, but they were able to generate a mini surge in the second quarter. They found their way into the paint, and they got to the line. However, they only converted 9 of their 17 free throw attempts in the second half. Despite not getting much of anything from their 3 of their 4 best players in the first half, they were only down 55-53 by halftime.
Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson and Dillon Brooks are 5/20 fgs, 2/7 from the line (all Ja), and have 7 turnovers— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) April 27, 2022
The Memphis Grizzlies started out with a bit more energy in the 3rd quarter. That energy was quickly sucked, after a successful challenge from the Timberwolves that wouldn’t resulted in a charging call on Karl-Anthony Towns. The Grizzlies tried to chip the lead with perimeter jumpers, but they kept bricking everything. It was painful, not going to lie. The Grizzlies trailed 85-74 at the end of the quarter.
We had a JA MORANT BAPTISM:
JA MORANT MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 27, 2022
The 4th quarter started with Ja Morant trying to dunk on someone again, but he didn't capitalize. Good news though, Desmond Bane drilled a 3 off the second-chance opportunity. The Wolves started to open up the lead again, increasing their lead by as much as 13 points. Jaren Jackson Jr. ended up fouling out here (more on that). Instead of folding though, the Grizzlies rip off a righteous run to close the gap — particularly due to the brilliance of Ja Morant, and the hustle play of Brandon Clarke. They found their groove from 3 and at the foul line, and the paint opened up like the Red Sea whenever the Grizzlies found driving lanes. They also generated the stops necessary to trim the deficit as well.
The Grizzlies and Timberwolves traded haymakers behind the stellar plays of their young superstars Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards. The Grizzlies got a big Ja Morant 3 to take the lead. Then, Anthony Edwards later drills a corner 3 to tie the game. However, the game ends with Ja Morant getting an opening to the basket to send the Grizzlies to a victory.
The Memphis Grizzlies win 111-109, and now take a 3-2 series lead to Minnesota.
- Ja Morant did some legendary stuff. Ja Morant kicked things into turbo in the second half, playing with his usual bounce and paint prowess we saw in the regular season. He took over the game and become the best player on the floor. He provided a lot of big moments en route to the Grizzlies’ comeback win, sealing it with a game-winning layup. This is the type of stuff that superstars do, and this game might go down as Morant’s first signature playoff win of his bright young career.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. fouls out again. The fouling is rough. We saw the game-changing presence he can be defensively and — in this game, at least — on the offensive glass when he’s on the floor. However, he can’t get out of his own way with foul trouble. It will be a reminder of how great he can be when he’s on the floor, and tonight’s win should make him even hungrier to fix his fouling woes.
- Brandon Clarke bringing the energy. Brandon Clarke was electric once again in this game. He finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, 9 of them came on the offensive glass. He had, what looked like, a billon tip-outs to keep the offensive possession alive. His energy and performance has been massive for the Grizzlies this series. He is in line for a handsomely nice payday in the form of a contract extension this offseason.