The Minnesota Timberwolves could have caved in following the collapse in Game 3 but the team found a way to bounce back with a 119-118 win over the Memphis Grizzlies to tie the series on Saturday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns was aggressive from the opening tip-off and led the way with a dominant fourth quarter to avenge his poor performance in the loss on Thursday. The Timberwolves made 18 3-pointers to regain momentum as the series will now shift back to Memphis.
Player grades from the Timberwolves series-tying Game 4 win
Karl-Anthony Towns: A+
33 points (8/17 FG, 3/5 3PFG, 14/17 FT), 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 6 turnovers
After shooting 3/4 from the field and attempting the least amount of shots in his career in Game 3, Towns made it a point to attack early on. He drilled a 3-pointer to open the scoring and compiled 10 points and six rebounds in the first quarter. The Timberwolves went on a 17-3 run and held a 33-28 lead.
At the end of the third quarter, Towns finished a smooth euro step through contact to go up 93-87. The Timberwolves big man took over early in the fourth quarter, scoring on an elbow isolation following a timeout and a one-legged fallaway to extend the lead. He also came up huge on the defensive end.
Towns recovered for a helpside block to keep a one-point lead before hitting two enormous triples to keep Memphis out of reach. It was only fitting that he sealed the win with a pair of free throws in the final seconds to finish with 33 points and 14 rebounds. Towns is the second player in franchise history with a 30-point double-double in the playoffs.
Kevin Garnett did it seven times in 47 playoff games.
Anthony Edwards: A
24 points (7/14 FG, 4/8 3PFG, 6/6 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 3 turnovers
It looked like Edwards might not return when he exited the game due to a right knee injury with 6:37 remaining in the first quarter. The sophomore guard has been dealing with knee issues for months so it’s hard not to be concerned when he comes up limping to the locker room. The Timberwolves trailed 14-12 at the time.
Fortunately, Edwards was able to come back just a few minutes later as the crowd erupted.
The Grizzlies went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter but Edwards responded with a stepback 3-pointer to push the lead back to 55-47. He later knocked down back-to-back shots as the Timberwolves made 9/11 from deep during that span. Along with a much-needed 24 points, Edwards also picked up three blocks and two steals.
He’s averaging 24.8 points on 42.1 percent from deep in this series.
Jordan McLaughlin: B+
16 points (5/6 FG, 4/4 3PFG, 2/2 FT), 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
All of the Timberwolves point guards played an important role in the series-tying win as D’Angelo Russell created quality shots for others and Patrick Beverley made winning plays throughout. With that said, McLaughlin had just as much impact off the bench. The USC product was a perfect 4/4 from 3-point territory on Saturday.
Memphis closed the gap to two points midway through the second quarter but Beverley and McLaughlin answered with two straight triples to force a timeout. The Timberwolves didn’t get much production from the reserves which made McLaughlin’s play even more necessary as he tied a season-high 16 points in 14 minutes.
McLaughlin also recorded a team-high +6 plus/minus.
It would have been easy to roll over after the embarrassing loss in Game 3 but the Timberwolves survived and have a golden opportunity to regain the series lead on Tuesday in Memphis before returning to the Target Center for Game 6 next Friday.
All things considered, heading into Game 5 with the series tied at two games apiece is an outcome the Wolves are no doubt pleased with.