Star of the Game
Ja Morant hit the game winner with one second left to put the Grizzlies up 111-109. Nail-biters like this are heartbreaking, especially in the playoffs, but Minnesota needs to set their sights on the next game. Focusing on one star of the game is difficult, because everyone played with flaws. Anthony Edwards had 22 points, but he shot 8/20 and didn’t do much else. D’Angelo Russell continues to slump with only 12 points (shooting 4/10), but he did add 8 assists. Karl-Anthony Towns was arguably the best play for the Timberwolves with 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks, but he also had 7 turnovers. Better play all around, and this game could have gone the other way.
After the game, Coach Finch attributed this loss to rebounding. Brandon Clarke had 15 (9 offensive rebounds), Ja Morant had 13, Jared Jackson Jr. and Kyle Anderson both had 5. While rebounding was a big problem, there is a larger concern. Minnesota is still a young team, and they are lacking in playoff experience. This lack of basketball intelligence is starting to show in this series. Be it poor turnovers, foolish mistakes on defense, not taking good shots, Minnesota is losing to inexperience. Which is wild, because the Grizzlies are also a young team, they are just making fewer mistakes. The good news is that all of this is fixable, and once Minnesota irons out these problems, they will be a much more dangerous team.
Number of the Night
Just like the stars, none of the supporting players had an outstanding game either. Jarred Vanderbilt had 10 rebounds, but he only had 6 points. Patrick Beverley had 6 assists, but 5 turnovers. Beasley and McDaniels were non-existent, and Taurean Prince 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. If the bench does well, Minnesota does well. They will all have to play better if they want to keep their playoff dreams alive this season.
Game 6 will be played on Thursday, but the time has yet to be announced.
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