Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves take one half to get untracked before polishing off Grizzlies

Chris Hine, Star Tribune on

Published in Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — There are times the Timberwolves can win games when Anthony Edwards doesn't play all that well. Their defense is good enough to carry them, and some nights others can pick up the slack on offense.

Wednesday was not one of those nights. When Edwards looked disengaged, the Wolves did as a whole. But when he finally locked in, so too did the Wolves.

Coach Chris Finch sensed this too, as he sent Edwards out there for 40 minutes on the tail night of a back to back. The Wolves needed every second Edwards could give them in a 110-101 win over the Grizzlies.

Edwards had 25 of his 34 points in the second half to lead the Wolves to their seventh win in their last eight games.

Edwards erupted in the third quarter after the Wolves fell behind by 11, as he scored 17 points in the third. The Grizzlies were overplaying Edwards to prevent him from getting the ball, but he figured out how to operate around that with back cuts in an open lane.

Despite a rash of injuries to several key contributors, Memphis came to play, with Jaren Jackson Jr. scoring 33 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. The Grizzlies also owned the Wolves on the offensive glass with 18 second-chance points.


But after Edwards drove for a dunk with 1 minute, 31 seconds to play to give the Wolves a 108-101 lead, the scare of an upset was over. Naz Reid provided a needed 19 points off the bench as he had his second straight strong offensive night. Jaden McDaniels snapped out of a recent funk with 12 points and some key defensive possessions late, like when he forced Santi Aldama into an eight-second violation.

The Wolves, including Edwards, were slow getting into the night as they fell behind 14-0 at the start. Edwards started the night 1-for-5. But Karl-Anthony Towns [13 points] hit three threes for nine points in the quarter while Reid had four threes in the first half as the Wolves went into the locker room down 53-50.

The Wolves came out lifeless in the second half, and the Grizzlies took advantage of that with a 13-4 run that put them up 11. At that point, the Wolves finally got a needed jolt of energy with a 14-3 run of their own, as Edwards got to the rim for a couple of easy buckets and nailed a three during that spurt.

Edwards finally became engaged in the game to score 17 in the third, and because of that the Wolves had an 88-85 lead headed into the fourth. Then their defense, which played a lot of the quarter without Rudy Gobert, held Memphis to just 16 points in the fourth.

[Bullet] Forward Kyle Anderson missed the game because of a left knee sprain. Finch said he wasn't sure of how long Anderson might be out but said the injury seemed to be more "day to day" than long term.

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