You thought Brooklyn’s collapse against Boston was bad? That’s nothing compared to the Timberwolves’ meltdown in Game 3, squandering a 25-point, second-half lead (they led by as many as 26 at one point) Thursday in a stunning, 104-95 loss to Memphis.
It all fell apart in the fourth quarter with the Grizzlies, fueled by a monster, 26-point performance from Desmond Bane, mounting the third-largest comeback in NBA playoff history. Though plagued by poor shooting (5-for-18), All-Star Ja Morant made a similar impact, recording the first triple-double of his postseason career with 16 points, 10 boards and 10 assists to go with three blocked shots. He also committed seven turnovers, but who’s counting?
After opening up a 26-point advantage early in the second quarter, Minnesota let Memphis back in the game, heading into halftime with only a seven-point cushion. The Wolves stretched the lead back to 25 with a dominant third quarter but again took their foot off the gas, allowing the Grizzlies to rattle off 21 straight points. Nowhere to be found was Karl-Anthony Towns, who was all but invisible in the losing effort, contributing just eight points on 3-of-4 shooting while spending much of the night in foul trouble.
Thursday’s dramatic turn of events predictably caught the attention of fans on social media, who couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Ruthless as always, the Twitter mob came prepared with plenty of insults, reserving most of their venom for Towns while also trolling Timberwolves part-owner Alex Rodriguez, whose mood changed from ecstatic to despondent in record time.
The seventh-seeded Timberwolves may have been punching above their weight class—the Grizzlies finished 10 games ahead of them in the Western Conference standings. But there’s no excuse for blowing a lead of that magnitude, especially on your home court. Now facing a 2-1 series deficit, the Wolves will look to redeem themselves in Saturday’s Game 4, slated for 10 PM ET at Target Center.