NBA Playoffs: Grizzlies and Mavs edge ahead with roads wins, Warriors shoot Denver down
Minneapolis, Minnesota - A remarkable fourth quarter from the Memphis Grizzlies was the catalyst in their 104-95 win on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves, going up 2-1 in the series.
In the first quarter, in front of their home fans, it appeared that it was going to be all Timberwolves early as they got off to a scorching start, with Patrick Beverley scoring eight of the game's first 12 points as the hosts went up 12-0.
Both Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. collected two personal fouls each in the opening period as the Grizzlies went into the second quarter trailing 39-21. A much-improved defensive effort held the Wolves to 12 points in the second term, though, cutting the margin back to 51-44 at the half.
Memphis were unable to keep that momentum coming out of the break as Minnesota started the third frame on a 28-10 run, pulling away to a 79-54 lead.
But trailing 83-62 with 1:05 to play in the third quarter, the Grizzlies started their run. They ended up scoring 21 consecutive points to tie the game at 83-83 as Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, and Tyus Jones lifted the visitors.
As Karl-Anthony Towns struggled down the stretch, finishing with just eight points and five blocks with five fouls, the Grizzlies were firing on all cylinders, winning the last quarter 37-12 to open their lead up to 10 points for a relatively comfortable final few minutes.
Morant was a disappointing five-of-18 from the field for his 16 points and seven turnovers, but he added 10 rebounds and 10 assists as he stayed involved in other areas of the game.
He was supported beautifully by Bane who top-scored with 26 points, hitting seven-of-15 from long range, while Clarke had 20 points and eight rebounds on just nine field goal attempts. Jones posted a line of 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists off the bench, hitting all three of his threes.
Game 4 will remain in Minnesota before heading back to Memphis for Game 5.
Mavs take the lead with rare road win in Utah
Dallas Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson carried his side to a 126-118 win against the Utah Jazz, with superstar teammate Luka Dončić watching from the sidelines.
Brunson scored a career-high 41 points in his last outing, before dropping 31 on 12-of-22 shooting in hostile territory on Thursday.
He was supported by a terrific shooting performance by the Mavericks reserves, as Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans, and Josh Green combined to shoot 11-of-17 from three-point range. As a team, Dallas shot 42.9% from beyond the arc (18-of-42).
The Jazz shot 56% from the field in the loss, but were minus 12 in the nine minutes with Donovan Mitchell sitting on the bench. Mitchell finished with 32 points (10-of-21 shooting) with six assists.
Rudy Gobert did not miss a field goal or free throw for 15 points and seven rebounds, but the Jazz struggled to get stops while he and Mike Conley were on the floor, as both players finished with a plus/minus of minus 16.
The win is the Mavericks' first in Utah since 2016, putting them 2-1 up in the series before Friday's Game 4.
Warriors come out on top in shoot-out
In a game where both teams shot the lights out, the Golden State Warriors showed once again that it is not wise to get into a shoot-out with the team from the Bay Area, beating the Denver Nuggets 118-113.
The Warriors shot 55% from the field and 45% from long range (18-40) as their offense was clicking for most of the night.
Denver shot the ball well in their own right, finishing 50% from the field and 44% from deep (11-of-26). It even looked to take control in the third quarter, winning the term 30-18 and taking a 89-87 lead into the final period.
But that third quarter would be the Warriors' only slip-up, as they scored at least 31 points in the other three, with the Splash Brothers – now with a third member – seemingly unstoppable.
Steph Curry came off the bench once again to score 27 points (nine-of-17 shooting, three-of-nine from deep), Klay Thompson looked back to his best with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting, as well as six of 13 threes, while Jordan Poole continued to show he is no flash in the pan, scoring 27 points on nine-of-13 shooting.
For Denver, MVP favorite Nikola Jokić tried his heart out, finishing with 37 points (14-of-22 shooting) with 18 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He was plus three in his 38 minutes, meaning the Nuggets were outscored by eight in his 10 minutes on the bench.
The win moves the Warriors to a 3-0 lead, with Game 4 to be played in Denver, before returning home for Game 5.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports