The Minnesota Timberwolves, for the third time in their first-round matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, blew a double-digit lead in the second half and lost. This time, it was a 13-point advantage in a 114-106 Game 6 loss, ending Minny's season.
And after the game, star big man Karl-Anthony Towns—who finished with 18 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the field to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block—was made the scapegoat.
Namely, many NBA fans took issue with Towns' assertion in December that he's the "greatest big man shooter of all time."
It would be harsh to solely lay the loss at the feet of Towns. Yes, he struggled. This was hardly his best performance, as Anthony Edwards (30 points) and Jaden McDaniels off the bench (24 points, 5-of-6 from three) carried the offense.
But the Timberwolves missed eight of 26 free throws. They let the Grizzlies get to the rim and were outworked on the glass in the fourth quarter. Yet again, it was Memphis that was composed in the waning moments, not Minnesota.
The Grizzlies deserve a ton of credit, too. Six players scored double-digit points, led by Desmond Bane (23 points, seven rebounds, 5-of-9 from three) and Dillon Brooks (23 points, 5-of-6 from three). And even on a night when Ja Morant struggled from the field (4-of-14), he still scored 17 points, added 11 assists and scored some big buckets down the stretch.
So this loss can't entirely be pinned on KAT. But he is the face of the franchise, and that means he's going to shoulder an outsized blame, especially given how the Wolves lost this series.
It was within their grasp. The Grizzlies just proved too relentless and resilient, and the Timberwolves simply lacked the composure needed to move on.