Memphis’ winning chase and Dallas’ success without Donkic marked playoff night.
On Thursday, Memphis rallied from a 26-point deficit to win 104-95 in Minnesota over the Timberwolves and regain a 2-1 lead in their first-round NBA playoff series, like the Dallas Mavericks, who won 126-118 at the Utah Jazz.
Also defeated at home, Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets are now on the verge of elimination, led 3-0 in their best-of-seven series by the Golden State Warriors, who won 118-113 in Colorado in the third game of Thursday night.
In Minneapolis, Ja Morant’s Grizzlies, clumsy (5/18 shooting) but the author of a triple-double (16 pts, 10 rbds, 10 assists), were led by 26 points in the second quarter, and another 25 at the end of the third quarter, before outclassing the Timberwolves 37-12 in the last period of the game to finally win and regain the 2-1 lead in their series.
“This victory gives us a lot of emotion we came back from so far,” said Desmond Bane, Memphis’ leading scorer with 26 points. “But we have to keep a cool head; it’s the first to four victories that wins.”
“The whole team stayed focused and resisted throughout the game,” the full-back said.
D’Angelo Russell finished as the leading scorer on the Wolves side, with 22 points, but none scored in the fourth quarter; Anthony Edwards added 19 points and 7 rebounds, but Karl-Anthony Towns was disappointed, limited by Memphis’ fouls and aggressive defense to 8 points and 5 rebounds.
In Utah, Dallas regained the lead in its series against the Jazz, thanks to another victory without its Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic, injured and absent for the first three games of the playoffs, but who could make his return? In Game 4.
As in Game 2, the Mavericks were able to count on Jalen Brunson, author of 31 points despite a sore back after a clash with his opponent Royce O’Neal, to contain the return of Donovan Mitchell (32 pts) and his teammates.
The latter was up to 17 points behind before returning to a very small point of Dallas in the fourth quarter but never managed to get back in front.
“The most important thing was to stay together,” Brunson said. “When they did their runs, we didn’t collapse.”
Finally, in Denver, in the third game of the evening, the Warriors took a big step towards the second round of the playoffs by winning a third consecutive victory against the Nuggets, thanks to their trio of Stephen Curry (27 pts)-Jordan Poole (27 pts)-Klay Thompson (26 pts).
With 37 points on 14/22 shooting, 18 rebounds, and 5 assists, 2021 MVP Nikola Jokic tried everything but wasn’t enough in a long, close game that ended on a 9-2 Golden State.
Next meeting between the two teams: Sunday in Denver, where the Nuggets will be keen to avoid a “sweep.”
Results of the night:
Dallas leads 2-1
Memphis leads 2-1
Denver-Golden State 113-118
Golden State leads 3-0