The first round of the NBA playoffs has had both competitive and non-competitive series, but the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves matchup has been must-watch television.
After a big comeback win in the final seconds of game 5, the 2nd seeded Memphis Grizzlies look to carry their momentum into game 6 and close out their series in Minnesota against the 7th seeded Timberwolves.
In game 5, Grizzlies superstar and this season’s Most Improved Player, Ja Morant, posted a stellar 30 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals. He dropped 18 points in the 4th quarter and 13 in the final 4 minutes, along with the game winning layup. Morant is averaging 20-10-8 for the series and is looking to continue haunting this Minnesota squad.
“As long as I win, I don’t care about my stats,” said Morant when asked about his statistics. “I can have 0 points… my job is to go out there and make the best play.”
Morant’s play has been praiseworthy, but the Grizzlies success cannot be chalked up to one man. Contributions from Desmond Bane and Brandon Clarke in particular have helped propel this team to where they currently stand. Bane is averaging 23 points-per-game on 46% shooting from 3-point range, and Brandon Clarke is averaging 16 and 8 on 70% shooting from the field.
“If he was born in the dark, that’s because he’s shooting the lights out,” said former NBA champion Richard Jefferson in regard to Bane’s deadeye shooting throughout this series.
Coming into game 6, the Grizzlies are 1.5 point favorites, and the over/under was set at 228.5, meaning Vegas is expecting Memphis to come out on top of a shootout. ESPN also has the Grizzlies at a 61.8% chance of winning the game, and therefore the series.
On the other hand, the Timberwolves have often looked like the better team this series. This complete roster led by their dynamic duo of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns has played great basketball thus far, and they are not going to lay down and have this series end in their house.
“The Pressure is on,” Said second-year star Anthony Edwards in a tweet. “Time to shine!”
Edwards is averaging 21 points-per-game on 43% from the field and 44% from three, and Towns is averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 50% from the field and 43% from three. Both have played very well so far, but it is going to take a bit more to come back from the deficit they find themselves in.