Grizzlies Vs. Wolves score, takeaways: Karl-Anthony Towns’ huge kickback effort helps Minnesota with straight series

The Minnesota Timberwolves leveled their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies with a thrilling, 119-118, Game 4 victory in Minneapolis on Saturday night. The series will now switch back to Memphis with 2-2.

Karl-Anthony Towns was the story of game 4, which featured a disappointing effort in the previous game by putting up 33 points and 14 rebounds on 8-to-17 shooting while going 14 of 17 from the free-throw line. Anthony Edwards returned from a brief injury scare in the first quarter to score 24 points on 4-to-8 3-point shooting.

Desmond Bane kept Memphis afloat for most of the evening as several Grizzlies tackled fouls, finishing with a game-high 34 points on 8-to-12 3-point shooting. Dillon Brooks added 24 points while Ja Morant struggled off the field most of the night but finished with 11 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds.

Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s match along with a summary of our live updates.

Towns return

Virtually no star in those playoffs has endured as much criticism as Towns did after his confusing Game 3 performance, scoring just eight points on four field goal attempts while getting five errors. He had to answer on Saturday, and he ever did.

Towns came out aggressively from the jump, refusing to settle for jumpers and entering the field to pull free throws. Wolves coach Chris Finch said afterwards that Towns played “pissed and loose”. The most free throws Towns had ever attempted in a playoff game was eight, and he more than doubled that in Game 4.

These were not empty calorie numbers either, as Towns did much of his injury late after the Grizzlies rose back. He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-5 field goals, making two game-clinching free throws with 4.4 seconds left.

The Timberwolves should be happy with the performance they got from their star on Saturday, and that may give the team some momentum when they return to Memphis for Game 5.

Hard night for Yes

When Morant came in with a career playoff average of 27.8 points, Morant looked confused most of the evening when it came to creating his own offense. He did an amazing job of facilitating with 15 assists, but the lanes he usually finds toward the basket were simply not often, and when he got to the edge, he struggled to finish through Minnesota’s athletics and length.

“I’m not Yes right now,” Morant said after the match. “I’m not playing over the edge.”

In addition to his difficulty in scoring, Morant was also plagued with bad problems most of the night, leading to him only playing 33 minutes (he played 40 minutes in game 3). The Wolves also attacked him relentlessly at the other end, as they have done for most of the series, which slammed Morant’s energy and created the bad problems.

Like Towns, Morant will appear to bounce back in front of his home crowd in Game 5.

JMac out of nowhere

We’ve seen it time and time again in the playoffs. You stand for the stars, but there are usually one or two role players in each game that make the difference. On Saturday, this player was backup Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin, who scored 16 points on 4-for-4 3-point shooting in just 14 minutes. His buckets also came at big moments as this fourth quarter 3-pointer after the Grizzlies had cut the lead to five points.

It’s no secret that Minnesota relies on its three stars – Towns, Edwards and D’Angelo Russell – for the majority of its scoring, but key contributions have come from the bench all year round. In a match as close as Saturday night, McLaughlin’s 16 points were absolutely crucial.

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