Ant scored a career-high 51 points to lead a 21-point comeback

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Six of Minnesota’s first seven shots came from beyond the arc, with the Wolves connecting on just one of them.
The Wolves also picked up their defensive intensity, too, but the Wizards knocked down tough shots, and led to the Wolves pressing a bit offensively.
Minnesota took a ton of difficult shots in the paint, leading to Washington run-outs on the other end of the floor.
Washington coasted to a 44-point first quarter, the most points Minnesota has allowed in any frame this season.
Washington shot 9/13 from 3 and scored eight fast break points, while Minnesota shot just 35% from the floor.
Gobert unfortunately fouled Davis shooting a heave 3 with 2.0 seconds left in the third, giving the Wizards two free points.
Kispert scored 25 to lead the Wizards, while Poole had 24, and a trio of Washington starters added 15 in support.
The Wolves also scored 20 second chance points, 20 fast break points, and 22 points off of 13 Wizards turnovers.

NEUTRAL

After splitting a two-game road trip up the West Coast against prospective playoff opponents in the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, the Minnesota Timberwolves took the court once more on Tuesday night to host the Washington Wizards.

When the Wolves were losing. A. After sustaining a torn meniscus in his left knee on March 4, Karl-Anthony Towns played in scrimmages for the first time.

After undergoing a reevaluation on Tuesday, which marked the fourth week of his recuperation from surgery, the team released a statement stating that Towns was cleared to resume full contact and 5-on-5 basketball play.

In the pregame press conference, Wolves Head Coach Chris Finch stated that he believes Towns’ star forward can return “sooner rather than later” and that he “looks incredible.”. So, how does Finch see the process of Towns’ reintegration unfolding?

The distribution of those things will change slightly, of course, far more than how we expect him to kind of come in and play. “Certainly not without its hiccups, but I think that has more to do with the overall rotation and minutes and roles,” Finch said prior to the game on Tuesday. It is evident that he possesses great talent. Not only do we want him to be the best version of himself, but in the last few weeks, we have also come to some realizations that we will need him to kind of lean into. “.

It might have a little different beat from what we were playing before he departed. Hence, while there are a few items there, some of them have already been discussed. Prior to our conversation about it, [Karl was] in fact able to see it. That has been excellent that he was the first to sort of bring up some of the things he had noticed. Thus, that’s just one more reason why we can’t wait to see him in action. We’re able to start working on it. “.

Towns’ absence from Tuesday night’s game against the Wizards was announced, but given that Finch also mentioned that KAT still needs to do some additional conditioning work, it seems unlikely that he will play a limited role in the season’s biggest game against the Nuggets.

In order to give Towns two games at home over the weekend and a full week of practice at home to get in rhythm before the NBA Playoffs begin on April 20, Friday’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks might make more sense.

At first, the Wolves did not take the opposition seriously, much like they did in their previous home game against a struggling Eastern Conference team.

The Wolves chose to bomb away from three instead of working the ball into the paint, despite the Wizards’ lack of a center in their rotation of players. Minnesota attempted six of its first seven shots from beyond the arc, but only one of those attempts was made by the Wolves. Rather than sprinting around screens and contesting shots, the Timberwolves did little on the other end, either. Instead, they jogged lassitude toward shooters. Jordan Poole and Corey Kispert each started 3/3 for eight points as Washington opened 7/9 from the floor and 5/6 from beyond, jumping out to a fast 19-5 lead after just four minutes. This forced a Finch timeout.

After the half, Minnesota immediately posted Rudy Gobert in front of the basket, which resulted in a foul. Jaden McDaniels then made a strong drive off the catch to earn two free throws. The Wizards made some difficult shots, which forced the Wolves to step up their defensive play. As a result, the Wolves also increased their intensity on defense. Run-outs in the paint by Washington on the other end of the court were caused by Minnesota’s abundance of tough paint shots.

If not for two 3-pointers from Edwards and Naz Reid, who had a difficult first stint offensively, missing just 1/5 of his shots, the Timberwolves would be behind by more than twenty points. Reid let out some of his frustration on Johnny Davis by elbowing him in the head. After the play was reviewed, it was deemed a Flagrant 2, and Reid’s night was over at 3:36 of the first quarter.

This season, Minnesota has allowed fewer points in a quarter than Washington’s 44-point opening quarter. The Wolves put up 26 points in the first frame behind 12 from Edwards, but the Wizards countered with 12 from Kispert, 11 from Poole, and 6 from Davis. Minnesota only made 35 percent of their shots from the field, while Washington made nineteen of their three-pointers and eight fast break points. Nickeil Alexander-Walker received an amazing hit-ahead pass from Gobert late in the frame, which was the only bright spot.

Jordan McLaughlin, Mike Conley, NAW, Kyle Anderson, and Gobert make up the starting lineup for the second quarter. This lineup typically provides dependable ball security and steady ball movement, but in the first few minutes, they turned the ball over twice.

But with a fantastic defensive effort, Alexander-Walker virtually single-handedly made up for it. He started by stealing a behind-the-back pass from Eugene Omoruyi and going back to score. He then moved Poole full court and forced a steal, which led to an offensive rebound for Gobert and two made free throws. He finished the run with a huge three-pointer to the right corner to reward Gobert’s block, making it a 7-0 Wolves lead that was reduced to a manageable 12.

Was he finished? NAW.

After assisting on a McDaniels triple, he skillfully buried two more corner threes off of assists from McLaughlin. This was McLaughlin’s fourth corner three in just the second quarter. Tuesday marks J-Mac’s 28th birthday. He did a great job of driving the baseline to open up shooting opportunities for his teammates or getting into the paint to break down defenses.

In an attempt to trim the Wizards lead to as little as four points, NAW added a *checks notes* fourth 3-pointer of the quarter prior to his departure. With three rebounds, two assists, two stocks, and a scorching 18 points on 7/14 shooting, Alexander-Walker had a fantastic first stint.

To regain control of the game, Washington’s offense responded with a 7-2 run that increased the lead to 10 before halftime. The Timberwolves did not try to narrow the deficit by pressing offensively, in contrast to the first quarter. In order to get to the rim, Edwards attacked mismatches that came off of Gobert screens, forcing the Wizards defense to foul. After going 11/11 in the first half, Edwards was 7/7 from the line in the quarter. In the first half, Minnesota’s team made 18 of 21 free throws, both season highs.

When Edwards applauded at an official after calling a foul call that wasn’t made, he did receive a technical late in the half.

Poole and Kispert combined for 32 points and seven 3-pointers at the half, helping the Wizards lead 70–60. Edwards and Alexander-Walker combined for 39 points for Minnesota, while Gobert had a huge half with eight points, 12 rebounds, and six stocks in just 21 minutes.

The Timberwolves quickly narrowed the lead to four points by making their first two 3-point attempts (on possessions started by strong McDaniels rebounds) while maintaining their strong ball movement and hot shooting from the second quarter (5/12 from 3). Poole answered with a 30-footer that forced Finch to call a quick timeout.

Conley really increased his level of aggression early in the second half, following a scoreless first half. In the first half, Kispert continued to score effectively, and he converted his first three attempts from beyond the arc to keep the Wolves within striking distance. The former Gonzaga standout, who is renowned for his 3-point shooting, played a great game playing off the catch when the defense crowded him and made baskets when the shot clock ran out.

At 7:01, McDaniels was replaced by Slow-Mo after he received his fourth foul, and Washington went zone. The game had been close since the Wizards’ lead was reduced to just one when Gobert posted up in the bottom middle of the 2-3 zone, spun off the catch, and made a difficult layup to go down for an and-1.

Kispert eventually missed a couple of open jumpers, which was a sign that the fans of Wolves had their wish granted. Poole then took three extremely difficult jumpers in four possessions. NAW’s strong post-score, two free throws from McLaughlin, and an isolation 3-pointer from Edwards gave Minnesota their first lead of the game at 92-89. Meanwhile, Minnesota kept up the scoring.

The two-time All-Star then followed it up with a huge transition flush and a left slot 3 on consecutive possessions before dishing out a flawless bounce pass to Gobert for a dunk on the following possession.

With two points and 0 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Gobert sadly fouled Davis while he was trying to make a heave three, giving the Wizards two free points. Anderson then attempted an inbound pass, which Edwards mishandled and gave Washington another possession that they were unable to convert.

Minnesota had a 99-94 lead going into the last quarter after winning 39-24 in the third quarter. In the third quarter, Edwards scored 17 of his 38 points for the game; Conley and Gobert each added nine and eight points, respectively. During that time, the Timberwolves had 10 assists and a 6/10 deep shooting percentage.

Conley made the crucial triple to start the Wolves’ scoring after the Wizards had taken the lead with a 3-pointer of their own. This was exactly how he started the second half. With echoes of last season’s late home losses against tanking teams, that started a nerve-wracking back-and-forth for the Target Center crowd.

Edwards came back and gave an immediate boost at 8:41, 81 seconds after McDaniels was flagged for his fifth foul. In the second half, he scored an unassisted basket to extend the lead to six points, his 10th of the game. He then isolated against Davis, forcing gap help that allowed Conley to score another three points, his fifth of the half.

Once again, Poole made a poor pass that ultimately resulted in a turnover, which set up a Gobert dunk following a gorgeous entry from Conley. Poole’s actions would make a coach’s head explode.

Edwards was able to isolate himself without restriction because Washington was alternating every position in their small-ball lineup. After posting up at the nail, he converted a right-hand floater out of a left box post-up and then threw a dime-sized pass to a cutting Alexander-Walker. It paid off to hang out with a very talented offensive big man and pick up a few of his signature moves.

A few possessions later, Edwards added a straight-on three points before dominating the defense and finishing off the glass with a clever reverse hand finish to match his career-high of 49 points. Following several scoreless possessions, Ant made his first 50-ball of the game with a spectacular layup, all while 50 Cent was seated courtside. The audience showered the soon-to-be All-NBA player with MVP chants as the two-time All-Star encouraged them to do so.

The Wolves overcame a 21-point deficit to win 130–121, marking a 30-point comeback. Minnesota stays in first place with the victory. 1 seed in the West going into the match in Denver tomorrow night.

In addition to Gobert’s incredible 19 points, 16 rebounds, and six stocks, Edwards finished with 51 points on 17/29 shooting (11/11 free throws), seven assists, and six rebounds. NAW added 23 incredible points and four stocks off the bench. Conley’s five second-half triples helped him score fifteen points.

The Wizards were led by Kispert, who scored 25, Poole, who scored 24, and three starters for Washington, who contributed 15.

Minnesota outscored Washington 26–13 in free throw percentage even though they gave up 20 3-pointers on 42 attempts (47.6%) and made 18 of their 41 attempts (43.9%). Along with these 20 second chance points, 20 fast break points, and 22 points from 13 Wizards turnovers, the Wolves also prevailed.

After player and coach availability for the media, this story will be updated throughout the evening.

Important lessons learned.

Anthony Edwards’s Career Night.

Despite all the incredible feats Ant has accomplished in his already stellar career, he has never exceeded the elusive 50-point threshold. Tuesday night, he put an end to that, scoring 51 points to lead the Wolves in a game that needed him to win badly because Reid had been sent off in the first quarter. Following the game, Edwards said he did it in honor of Wolves assistant coach Micah Nori, who turned 50 on Monday.

Without a doubt, we required them all. Their arrival into the flow was, in my opinion, its best feature. For the most part, he continued to make the correct play as the game was closing out. Indeed, he was making connections. Men were also making baskets. In his rush to the hoop, he was aggressive. After the game, Finch said of his star, “I thought he and Nickeil turned the game around in getting to the basket.”.

More than just turning it into a jump-shooting game, he somewhat slowed down the action. He reached the end of it. at halftime, eleven free throws. In the second half, it appears that he barely made an appearance. He and Nickeil undoubtedly made a significant difference in that game. “.

However, in contrast to a few other big scoring performances, Edwards didn’t force the issue and instead let everything come to him in this one.

Finch responded, “That’s exactly what it is,” admitting that a few late isos were required to get Ant to 50 points.

“The way you get to 50 is to keep making the right kickouts, exhibit patience, poise, and great efficiency. He went 17 for 29, 6 for 13 from the 3-point line, and 11 for free.”. Volume is not the issue. Effectiveness is the issue. Given the maturity and ability to stay in the moment, I thought it was an incredible performance. “.

In order to help his team secure the crucial victory as they pursue the No. 1 ranking, Edwards scored 30 of his 51 points in the second half. 1 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Ant described his strategy for starting a new game against a tanking opponent as “just coming in and killing ’em.”.

“I’m sick of [Finch] telling me to believe them. I’ll have to handle it on my own eventually. I appreciate him so much. A couple of days ago, he brought me into the office and told me, “Look, man, we have this Washington game and we need to win. You can’t treat it like any other game.”. Thus, thank you very much. “.

Speaking about the significance of these games for his rising star at this point in the season, Finch confirmed the conversation.

Naturally, take advantage of these as chances to continue honing your skills and maintaining cadence. He played a fantastic game in L, in my opinion. 1. He needed to step in and continue playing that way, according to Finch.

Then, these are the games where you offer yourself an opportunity to perform exceptionally well. As you’ve seen, he can be overly passive at times when it comes to encouraging his teammates. He is the main force behind a lot of our actions. That he consistently performs this is crucial. “.

Nickeil Come to the Aid.

Have you ever had a friend that you know you can always rely on to pick up the phone when you call? Someone who is there for you whenever you need them, not just when it’s convenient for them?

The Wolves have one friend in Nickeil Alexander-Walker. He answered when the Timberwolves called on Tuesday night, making him the only member of the pack to have played in all 79 games this season.

NAW’s first quarter performance, which began with the Wolves trailing 31-17 when he entered the game at 3:36, demonstrated why he is so important to the team. While his 18 points on 7/14 shooting and four made 3-pointers will undoubtedly draw attention from the box score, he also completely changed the mood of the building and the game’s momentum.

He’s improved from what he was this season, in my opinion. I am unsure if we are expecting more of him. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence and energy, seizing those opportunities when they present themselves,” Finch said of his essential bench wing.

“He brings a physical and emotional intensity to the game that is contagious to us as well, whether we are watching it or not. We are completely confident in him. “.

Nickeil seized the chance to make a hustle play when it was presented to him. In the absence of one, NAW made the opportunity happen on his own. Though he was only given credit for one steal and one block, his hustle in chasing Kispert around the perimeter and forcing Poole to pass, turn the ball over, or attempt a tough shot when the former Golden State player tried to isolate on him one-on-one, blew up several other Washington possessions.

In transition, Alexander-Walker also had a great performance. In addition to his excellent running of the floor, which allowed him to score at least six transition points, he also made excellent hit-ahead passes, spaced out to the corners when other players were clogging the lanes, and maintained constant shooting readiness.

NAW’s seven assists, one steal, and plus-minus of +27 tied McLaughlin’s, who was also very good.

“We can’t ask for more from him; he’s been reliable, excellent with the ball, and a top-notch defender. About his fellow sophomore, Edwards remarked, “He’s been playing fucking outstanding—I’m happy to see it for sure.”.

Coming Up Next.

Tonight, the Timberwolves will board a plane and fly to Denver, where they will play the Nuggets on Wednesday night in an ESPN game that will probably determine who is the No. 1 seed in the playoffs for the Western Conference. At 9 PM CT, fans can watch the game on Bally Sports North or ESPN.

Tonight, Denver will also be playing the second night of a back-to-back against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. With a right knee sprain, Jamal Murray missed the two teams’ prior meeting; Aaron Gordon is sidelined due to a right foot strain. Murray’s return to action on Saturday following a six-game absence due to injury would be a significant improvement for him as the Nuggets get ready for the postseason.

Update: Utah was defeated 111-95 by Denver.

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