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MEMPHIS – After Ja Morant’s profitable layup fell by means of with one second remaining within the Timberwolves’ 111-109 Recreation 5 loss, a soft-spoken coach Chris Finch did not pin his workforce’s loss on its protection on that play.

He did not pin it on the Wolves’ inconsistent late half-court execution on offense, which led to one more Memphis comeback win on this collection regardless of a 13-point fourth-quarter Wolves lead.

“Truthfully, that had nothing to do with it,” Finch mentioned. “They’d like, I do not know, what number of offensive rebounds within the fourth?”

The media in entrance of Finch instructed him that Brandon Clarke had seven offensive rebounds for the Grizzlies – within the fourth quarter.

“Clarke had seven alone?” Finch mentioned. “That is the sport. They’d 18 [offensive rebounds] for the sport. They’d 12 second-chance factors within the fourth quarter. That was it. That is the sport.”

As soon as once more, the Wolves have been left to select up the items from a sport they led for a lot of the evening, of a sport they need to have received and a sport they’ve nobody however themselves accountable for dropping. They now path the best-of-seven first-round Western Convention playoff collection three video games to 2.

Sloppy play permeated the evening. The Grizzlies and Wolves mixed for 39 turnovers, with the Wolves committing 23. Memphis shot 67% from the free-throw line and 25% from three-point vary.

Recreation 5 was going to be received not by the workforce who did essentially the most to win it, however by the workforce that did the least to lose it. The Wolves had Memphis beat there.

“Their gamers have been speaking, ‘Oh, they about to fold, they about to fold,’ ” Memphis guard Desmond Bane instructed reporters. “I knew that wasn’t the case.”

The Wolves led by 13 with 9:38 to play after Karl-Anthony Cities hit a three-pointer after which shushed the group with a finger to his mouth.

They may by no means shut Memphis up fully. As he walked to the postgame podium, Cities, who had 28 factors and 12 rebounds, let loose two deep sighs.

“It is disappointing. We’re so shut, but thus far,” Cities mentioned. “Simply obtained to select ourselves up, mud ourselves off on this flight, discuss what we have to discuss, keep collectively, and prepare for [Game 6] Friday.”

Memphis went on a run to get inside one earlier than Morant put them forward for the primary time because the first quarter, 107-106 with 1:03 to play. Memphis led earlier than Anthony Edwards (22 factors) tied the sport with a nook three with 3.7 second left.

On Memphis’ ultimate possession Edwards gambled to attempt to steal the inbound go to Morant, who then shot over Jarred Vanderbilt for the win.

“I had already had my thoughts made up that I used to be going to attempt to steal it. Dumb mistake,” Edwards mentioned. “It is over although. Cannot do nothing about it.”

Morant overcame a gradual begin to get 30 factors, 13 rebounds and 9 assists. It was his exercise entering into the paint that shifted the Wolves’ protection and allowed Clarke to dominate the glass on his method to 21 factors, 15 rebounds, 9 of which got here on the offensive finish.

“You may’t field him out and attempt to rebound as a result of he is gonna soar, faucet it,” Edwards mentioned. “Simply obtained to field him out. He was only a freak in the present day, man. I do not know. He was a freak in the present day.”

Added Finch: “Our smalls [guards] obtained to get again in there and so they obtained to hit. They obtained to sandwich him and put their physique on him down there.”

The Wolves did themselves no favors with their late-game execution, particularly when D’Angelo Russell tried to present the Wolves a lead with a contested mid-range shot and so they turned the ball over on their earlier possession, with Cities saying the ball truly went off the foot of Bane (25 factors).

“The whole lot has to enhance,” Cities mentioned. “The whole lot has to get higher from all of us. It’ll be a workforce effort.”

It is a unhappy silver lining for the Wolves that they not less than have expertise in bouncing again from crushing defeats of their very own making, since they simply did it to win Recreation 4 after squandering Recreation 3.

“Everyone know that we going through an elimination sport on Friday, so I do not suppose anyone is down,” Edwards mentioned. “I feel everyone is simply upset we misplaced in the present day. However I am wanting ahead to Friday as a result of all of the strain is on. … It is time to present up. I am pondering everyone is prepared.”

They will want to attract on that positivity once more, no matter they could have left of it.

“It’ll be a complete new sport,” Edwards mentioned. “We would get a lead and be capable to maintain it. You already know? It is humorous for positive, however hopefully we will get a lead and maintain it.”

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