Anthony Edwards leads the way as Wolves win first game since Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury
Edwards finished with 29 points, including 17 in the final frame, to go with five rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves more closely resembled the team they were a year ago Wednesday than they had previously this season. Minnesota was scrappy and gritty. They forced turnovers via a frenetic pace and a perimeter defensive pressure not often present this season.
And, as they did so often last season, the Timberwolves won the game as a result.
Minnesota knocked off Memphis 109-101 at Target Center to snap a three-game losing streak. It did so in its first game without Karl-Anthony Towns, who will miss several weeks with a right calf strain. It also did so without Taurean Prince, Jaden McDaniels and Jordan McLaughlin.
Rookie wing Wendell Moore Jr. — who hadn’t played rotational minutes yet this season — got the start and effectively limited Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant. That helped set the tone for a strong team defensive effort in which Memphis seemed out of control and flustered, like it did for much of last year’s playoff series. But Minnesota consistently managed to squander advantages back in April.
It didn’t do so Wednesday. Minnesota outplayed Memphis in the closing stretch, largely thanks to Anthony Edwards. The guard went at Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks time and time again. The two got into a verbal shouting match late in the contest, but it was Edwards who got the last laugh via his strong play. A frustrated Brooks was ejected after he was called for a foul with 1 minute, 22 seconds to play.
Morant followed him down the tunnel shortly thereafter.
Edwards made the technical free throws and the subsequent two at the line from the original foul to put Minnesota up 13 and ice the game as a home crowd that was mum to start the contest erupted into "MVP" chants.
He finished with 29 points, including 17 in the final frame, to go with five rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots.
The hope for Minnesota is that with Towns out, Edwards will rise to the occasion by increasing his play in all areas and taking charge of the team in the way many have hoped he would entering this season. The early returns are certainly positive.
The challenge now is for Edwards to maintain this level of play.
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