Karl-Anthony Towns thanks Grizzlies after Timberwolves knock out NBA playoffs

Karl Anthony Towns and Ja Morant kissed in the moments after the Memphis Grizzlies won game 6 Friday. Minutes later, their fathers enjoyed another friendly TV moment at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Towns’ father, Karl Sr. honored his bet with Tee Morant wearing the young Morant’s jersey after his post-match ESPN interview. The two fathers posed for photos one last time as Morant and the Grizzlies celebrated.

Respect followed sweat. The Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals with a 114-106 win and a 4-2 series win with the Golden State Warriors next. The Timberwolves’ season was over and Towns, before leaving the field, clapped the fans and blew them kisses to honor them.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) talks to Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) after the Grizzlies won Game 6 of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, which means they win the round, Friday, April 29, 2022, at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Grizzlies beat the Timberwolves 114-106.

During his nearly four-minute opening statement, Towns praised the Grizzlies among his thoughts from the end of his seventh season.

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“To be completely honest, I thank the Grizzlies for making us a better team, for having good fights, good streaks,” Towns said. “I think we all knew what this series was going to be and I think both teas showed why they deserve to be in the playoffs and why they deserve this chance to show what they can do. “

A season ago, it was the Grizzlies as the young, low-seeded team made its first trip to the playoffs in four seasons. This time, the Timberwolves were the playoff newcomers after a seven-year absence.

The Grizzlies used those scars on Friday to help regroup from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit for Game 3 of this series. It was a teaching moment and striker Anthony Edwards took it as such.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) and Minnesota Timberwolves goaltender Patrick Beverley (22) Memphis Grizzlies goaltender Ja Morant (12) during the second half of game six in the first round of the playoffs the 2022 NBA on Friday, April 29, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

“I think it comes with experience. They were there last year and they were the same, having leads and letting games slip away,” Edwards said. “We just weren’t as experienced as them. It happens. Every game we won besides game two, we just had bad shots and turnovers.”

Minnesota made 14 more 3-pointers in the series, but the Grizzlies won the battle of free throws, rebounds and turnovers. The details mattered and it helped the Grizzlies dig deep for their first playoff win since 2015.

The Timberwolves could only salute and learn after being knocked out.

“I have to give them credit. They did enough of what it took to win and not take anything from them,” Towns said.

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You can reach Evan Barnes on Twitter (@Evan_B) or by email at [email protected]

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