Dillon Brooks and Jae Crowder combined to make nine 3-pointers, and a big fourth quarter from Ja Morant powered the host Memphis Grizzlies past the Minnesota Timberwolves 137-121 on Wednesday.
Memphis snapped a three-game losing skid in a game it led virtually wire to wire. A season-high 37-point first quarter set the Grizzlies on their way.
Minnesota stayed within striking distance much of the game paced by Andrew Wiggins’ 30 points. Karl-Anthony Towns recorded a double-double (25 points, 13 rebounds) in his return from a two-game suspension.
The Timberwolves were within seven points late in the fourth quarter, but a floating bank shot by Morant extended the Grizzlies’ lead to double-digits with 3:48 to play. It never dipped into single figures again.
Brooks scored 31 points to lead all scorers on a night when the Grizzlies hit the franchise’s highest single-game point total in 12 years. They scored 144 in a nine-point win over the Golden State Warriors in 2007.
Memphis rookie Morant, who came into Wednesday’s contest the team’s leading scorer and in the NBA’s top 10 for fourth-quarter scoring average, took his late-game production to another level. He scored 14 of his 26 points in the final 12 minutes. Brooks actually outscored him, dropping 16 in the final quarter.
The Grizzlies also got 18 points from Crowder, who was 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. And Jonas Valanciunas finished with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Rookie Brandon Clarke returned to a reserve role after making his first career start in Memphis’ previous game. But with Jaren Jackson Jr. going 0-for-5 from the floor in his return from injury, Clarke had an efficient reserve performance with eight rebounds and 18 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting.
Memphis outscored Minnesota with 52 bench points to the Timberwolves’ 31. Treveon Graham led the Minnesota reserves with 10 points.
Rookie Jarrett Culver scored 15 points and Robert Covington added 13 in the losing effort.