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The Minnesota Timberwolves had no answer for Ja Morant on Tuesday night.
The Memphis star, with a ridiculous poster that could go down as the dunk of the postseason and a last-second layup, led the Grizzlies to a 111-109 win in Game 5 of their series with the Timberwolves on Tuesday. He nearly had a triple-double in the win, too, with 30 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists on the night.
“He was huge, he just kept staying the course,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said, via Bally Sports. “I know just like the whole team, he wasn’t having the best start. But I thought he was doing everything possible offensively and defensively … This is the fun part about playoff basketball, you don’t know how you’re going to win. You just have to keep chipping away, keep trusting it, and obviously he had a brilliant fourth quarter.”
Though the dunk was incredibly impressive, it was Morant’s final layup that proved to be the most important bucket of the contest. Morant, after Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards drilled a corner 3-pointer on the other end to tie the game up with 3.7 seconds left, easily caught an inbounds pass at the top of the key with Edwards on his back.
With only Jarred Vanderbilt standing in his way, Morant drove to the lane and sneaked the layup in under Vanderbilt.
While the final run was big on its own right, Morant sparked it at the end of the third with a wild poster over Malik Beasley.
Right as the third quarter was winding down, with the Grizzlies down by 13, Morant drove through the lane at full speed and completed the dunk over Malik Beasly. Morant extended completely and expertly landed the one-handed slam.
JA MORANT, ARE YOU KIDDING ME 😱pic.twitter.com/mHob0dG75a
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 27, 2022
Though Beasley clearly got set outside the restricted zone, he never stood a chance.
"That dunk definitely was a momentum booster," Jenkins said, via The Associated Press' Teresa Walker. "It got Ja going, but I think it got the whole group going."
Morant's analysis of the dunk, though, was a little different.
“It was over a guard,” he said. “That’s pretty easy.”
Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Edwards finished with 22 points in the loss.
Bane — who was hit with a technical foul in the first half after shoving Timberwolves coach Chris Finch — added 25 points for the Grizzlies. Brandon Clarke dropped 21 points with 15 rebounds off the bench, too.