MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — With the series tied 2-2, the Minnesota Timberwolves head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies in Game 5 of their playoff series Tuesday night.
Here’s a rundown of important information to know ahead of Game 5:
— NEED TO KNOW: Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns is coming off the highest-scoring playoff game of his career with 33 points, 13 of those coming in the fourth of Game 4. If that version of Towns shows up for Game 5, advantage Minnesota.
— KEEP AN EYE ON: Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Grizzlies. Morant is shooting 9 of 31 over the past two games, and Jackson has totaled 13 points in those contests.
— INJURY WATCH: Morant said he was “almost there” when asked if he was healthy after Game 4. And even though he’s not shooting well of late, his rebound and assist numbers are making huge impacts as well.
— PRESSURE IS ON: There’s plenty to go around. Minnesota has a chance to grab control and get a closeout game at home. Memphis can’t expect to lose twice at home and advance.
— FOUL TROUBLE: The NBA fined Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins earlier this week for criticizing the referees after Game 4. The Wolves had 40 free throw attempts in that game, compared to 25 for the Grizzlies, but it was the only game in the series in which Minnesota outshot Memphis at the line. Overall, no team in the NBA playoffs has shot more free throws than the Grizzlies’ 131.
— MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: The league announced Monday that Morant won the 2021-22 Most Improved Player Award. He averaged 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.16 steals in 57 starts in the regular season. Morant was also named the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year.
— GOOD LUCK CHARM: Three of the Timberwolves’ last five games — going back to the play-in matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers — were interrupted by protesters. The Wolves won each of those three games. During Saturday’s game, an attempted protest was quickly aborted when a security guard tackled a woman who blew right past Wolves owner Glen Taylor’s seat to run onto the court. Has Memphis beefed up security ahead of Tuesday’s game, or will another activist grant the Wolves a boon?
Game 6 will be at Target Center Friday night. If a seventh game is needed, it will take place on Sunday in Memphis.
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)