The Playoffs have finally started! With all the teams decided that would be facing in the Playoffs, it is time for some of the most intense battles to take place. In the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both teams are new to the Playoff atmosphere and it was exciting to see such young talents prospering in the league so soon.
The Grizzlies went with their starting lineup of Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr and Steven Adams. The Timberwolves started with Patrick Beverley, D’Angelo Russell, Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and Jarred Vanderbilt.
With the start of the opening tip the intensity of the game electrified the crowd with Jaren Jackson blocking Vanderbilt’s dunk. In scenarios like this where the score is at a standstill, the first one to score a basket takes the momentum of the 1st quarter. And that is exactly what happened, the Timberwolves scored the 1st basket and directly attacked the heart of the Grizzlies side.
However, the Grizzlies bounced back in the 2nd quarter as they started pushing their defence more towards the high pot resulting in Towns having to really work hard to score. Plus Ja Morant attacked relentlessly on the offensive end. Yet the Timberwolves took the lead in the 1st half with 66-62.
In the 2nd half, the Timberwolves slightly altered their game plan and moved the ball around really well. This confused the Grizzlies defence who had concentrated on Towns more and now have to spread to cover the perimeter. Nevertheless, the Timberwolves strategy worked and they got a lot of good open looks, draining 3s after 3s.
Ja Morant scored some big time buckets despite the Timberwolves focusing their defense on him. However, the Timberwolves as a team had their offense running in full throttle resulting the score gap to widen and ultimately getting the win.
Anthony Edwards has been the brightest spot on the Timberwolves and he has really performed well for his 1st playoff game with 36 points and 6 assists. Karl Anthony Towns put up 29 points and 13 assists complementing alongside Edwards.
D’Angelo Russell took on the playmaking duties as he put up 10 points and 9 assists. Malik Beasley came off the bench and went lights out from beyond the arc scoring 23 points.
Ja Morant gave effort in the court as he put up 32 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds in the game. Dillon Brooks scored 24 points. Desmond Bane put up 17 points. Brandon Clarke came off the bench to score a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Timberwolves took the 1st game with a scoreline of 130-117. Both teams do not have good defensive teams so they went all out on the offensive end. Looking at the regular season where the Grizzlies relied on transition offense, it is clear that a style like that won’t work as much in the Playoffs where the game slows down and it is more of a half court battle. They need to rethink their gameplan in order to win games and move towards the next round.