The Minnesota Timberwolves played their third home playoff game since 2004 on Thursday, and it’s one they will never forget for all the wrong reasons.
After Minnesota built a 26-point lead in the second quarter, it was the Memphis Grizzlies that left Target Center with a 104-95 win in Game 3 of their first-round series. The Grizzlies’ comeback is tied for the fourth-largest in NBA playoff history.
The Timberwolves held a 47-21 lead with 10:28 remaining in the second quarter before the Grizzlies started mounting a comeback. Memphis narrowed the deficit to seven points at halftime, heading into the break trailing just 51-44.
At the start of the third quarter, it appeared as though Minnesota had staved off Memphis' comeback attempt. Jaden McDaniels hit a 3-pointer with 4:28 left in the period to put Minnesota up 73-50. At that point, ESPN's win probability chart gave Minnesota a 99.2% chance of taking a 2-1 series lead.
Despite a Memphis scoring surge to end the third, Minnesota still held a 16-point lead with 12 minutes to play.
And then the fourth quarter happened.
A Desmond Bane 3-pointer with 8:33 left in regulation tied the game at 83 and capped off a 21-0 Memphis run. It wasn't until Anthony Edwards hit a pair of free throws a minute later that the Timberwolves even registered a point in the fourth. Naz Reid finally gave the Timberwolves a made field goal with 5:42 remaining, scoring an and-1.
Reid’s three-point play made it an 88-88 ballgame with 5:52 remaining, but the rest of the game was all Grizzlies.
Brandon Clarke chipped in eight points over the final six minutes. Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant added buckets of their own to put the dagger in the Timberwolves for good.
In total, the Grizzlies outscored the Timberwolves 37-12 in the fourth quarter, capping off the greatest playoff comeback in franchise history.
The Grizzlies have now won two straight games after dropping Game 1 in Memphis. The Timberwolves will have a chance to knot the series in Game 4, which will tip-off at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday.