Let’s rundown the action from Thursday night’s slate of NBA Playoffs action.
Grizzlies 104, Timberwolves 95
Series: MEM leads 2-1
Minnesota took it to Memphis for most of this one, but the Grizzlies were just too much in the end. The Timberwolves were even ahead by 26 points late in the third quarter, but they would see that lead dissolve in an epic collapse in Game 3.
Fueled by a 21-0 run in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies wiped away Minnesota’s 26-point lead.
Ja Morant, who had just five points on 2-9 shooting at about the four-minute mark in the third quarter, finished the game with a triple-double, logging 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in the Memphis victory. Desmond Bane scored 26 points and knocked down seven three-pointers for the Grizzlies, and Memphis forward Brandon Clarke added 20 points and eight boards. Morant’s triple-double is the first in Grizzlies playoff history.
Karl-Anthony Towns finished the game with just eight points and five rebounds in 33 minutes of action but was in foul trouble all night. KAT room just four shots on Thursday night, the lowest shot total of his career.
Charles Barkley called Minnesota’s epic collapse “embarrassing for basketball” on the TNT postgame show:
"That was embarrassing for basketball"
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 22, 2022
Memphis now leads the Timberwolves 2-1 in the series, and I’m not sure how Minnesota can come back from last night’s epic meltdown.
Mavericks 126, Jazz 118
Series: DAL leads 2-1
Despite being seen putting up shots before Game 3, the Mavericks were still without Luka Dončić, who is battling a left calf strain. Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said that Dončić pushed himself hard in pregame workouts and felt ready to go, but Dallas played it safe and gave him another night off.
The Jazz did not take advantage of Dončić’s absence on Thursday night, potentially a fatal mistake for them in this series with Dončić likely to return for Game 4 on Saturday.
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) April 22, 2022
Jalen Brunson stepped up in Dončić’s absence again tonight, scoring 31 points on 12-22 shooting and adding five assists in the Mavs’ Game 2 victory over the Jazz, their first win in Utah since April 11, 2016. Spencer Dinwiddie was all over the stat sheet, logging 20 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
Jason Kidd complimented his team’s ability to withstand a big run by Utah in the third quarter that ended up being the difference in the game:
“In the third, [the Jazz] came out, and they hit us. It would have been easy for us to give up the lead and say ‘Hey, we come back Saturday, ‘; but those guys fought and truly believed that they could put themselves in a position to win.”
Jalen Brunson did leave the game briefly with a back injury after taking a hard foul in the paint but returned and will be evaluated. Taking a 2-1 lead with a huge road victory in Utah was huge for Dallas, who will likely get Luke Dončić back this weekend.
Warriors 118, Nuggets 113
Series: GSW leads 3-0
Nikola Jokić was tossed from Game 2 after Draymond Green terrorized him defensively all night, causing the Denver big man to lose his cool as the Nuggets went down 0-2 to Golden State in the series. The Joker had to be much better in Game 3 if Denver had a fighter’s chance at beating the Warriors, and he was just that, scoring 37 points while pulling down 18 boards. After the game, Draymond Green made no bones about Jokić dominating him all night and said that he “was terrible all night.”
— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2022
Still, Draymond got the last laugh after he came up with a big-time steal on Jokić late in the game that helped the Warriors take the lead and eventually win. Green said that “when the money is on the line, I don’t like when people go at me for all the marbles.”
Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole each scored 27 points, and Klay Thompson finished right behind them with 26 points on six triples. Thompson passed Ray Allen for third all-time in playoff three-pointers made on Thursday night.
— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2022
Golden State is now up 3-0 in the series and has the Nuggets facing elimination in Game 4 on Sunday in Denver.