PHOENIX SUNS

Anthony Edwards walks walk, then talks in T-Wolves’ Game 1 win over Suns

Apr 20, 2024, 3:34 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2024, 8:15 am

Kevin Durant tried. He put up 31 points Saturday in Game 1 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the support from his fellow Phoenix Suns wasn’t there. And for all of the reasons the T-Wolves won 56 regular season games, starting with Anthony Edwards’ rise, Minnesota took Game 1 of the first-round series against Phoenix, 120-95.

Minnesota won the head-to-head battles in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, second-chance points, paint points, fastbreak points, bench points, rebounding and points off turnovers.

It didn’t necessarily start with Edwards, but he certainly finished it before the fourth quarter began.

He hadn’t scored 18 or more against the Suns in any of the three regular-season losses to them. But on Saturday, Edwards tallied that many in a critical third quarter alone. By the end of it, Minnesota led by 20.

A flurry of threes had Edwards chattering to Durant.

“I think everybody here knows that’s my favorite player of all time,” Edwards said. “So that was probably one of the best feelings ever in my whole life, for sure.”

Edwards kept the swagger going in the fourth to finish with 33 points and six assists, and Phoenix never threatened.

Head coach Frank Vogel waved the white flag with more than three minutes left in the game.

Durant went 11-of-17 from the field and got his diet mostly on high-post touches. Aside from that, the offense was shoddy by the Suns.

Phoenix managed just 16 assists to 33 field goals made, as the pace never amped up and floor-spacing never opened up with Grayson Allen (0-for-3) and Eric Gordon (0-of-4) failing to get good looks and failing to knock their rare looks down. Allen left the game after spraining his ankle in the second half.

It wasn’t a one-man show for the T-Wolves like it was for the Suns.

To that point, Nickeil Alexander-Walker led Minnesota with a plus-minus of +28. The T-Wolves bench outscored the Suns’ 41-18.

Suns reserve Royce O’Neale scored 14 without a single point from any bench player until the non-rotation players were in the game in the closing minutes.

The T-Wolves were winning at all of the margins.

Their size pounded the offensive glass for 52-28 rebound edge. They had 13 offensive boards to just three for the Suns.

Minnesota’s length hampered Booker and, to some degree by keeping his shot volume down, Bradley Beal, who closed with 15 points on just 10 shot attempts.

In all, Game 1 set the tone for what Minnesota’s physicality hopes to make out of this series and beyond. The defense of Edwards on Beal early on and later on Booker was the start of it.

Booker went a stretch from an effort-filled possession to shake loose of Rudy Gobert at 6:37 in the second quarter until 11:03 was left in the game to score his next bucket.

The Suns star closed with 18 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

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Anthony Edwards walks walk, then talks in T-Wolves’ Game 1 win over Suns