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Timberwolves send statement in Game 1 Win vs Suns

In front of a rocking Target Center, it was Anthony Edwards’ show.

The Minnesota Timberwolves led 1-0 in their series against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday after a 120-95 win. Edwards finished with 33 points while Kevin Durant also recorded his own 30-burger with 31 points.

Game 2 is on Tuesday, April 23.

Physicality was a theme established early on, and even in Game 1 of the series, things between the two sides were messy from the start.

The Suns held a 28-27 lead in the second quarter thanks to a buzzer-beating three from Royce O’Neale. Durant gave all players eleven points through the first twelve minutes of action, while the Wolves’ thirteen rebounds nearly doubled Phoenix’s seven to open the game.

“We moved the basketball well. … We’ve got to do better with (Anthony) Edwards in transition – definitely the snake head in transition, ISO, etc.,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said between quarters.

The Wolves slowly but surely took control of the game after Durant and the rest of the Suns started the second quarter cold, building a ten-point lead thanks to strong play from their second unit.

The Wolves took a 61-51 lead into the locker room thanks to 21 bench points compared to Phoenix’s six. Minnesota led 16-2 on second-chance points, while the Suns didn’t score at all on the fastbreak in the first half.

The Wolves lost Kyle Anderson (hip) to injury, while the Suns also saw Grayson Allen (ankle) leave.

It’s fair to say that the Timberwolves dictated the pace and play for the first 24 minutes of action – and that didn’t change in the next 24 minutes.

Edwards — who was forced out for three fouls to end the second game — exploded for 18 points in the third quarter, pushing Minnesota’s lead to 20 points heading into the game’s final quarter, 92-72.

The Wolves closed the third on a 19-4 run, while the Suns looked helpless in every regard.

That Phoenix helplessness extended to the fourth, where Minnesota kept the Suns out of reach until the final buzzer. The Suns waved the white flag with just over three minutes remaining, clearing the bench and sealing the victory.

The Suns hit just nine of 28 three-point attempts on the day.

The Wolves’ bench played a big role in the win over Phoenix, which was led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s 18 points and four steals.

Other key contributors for Minnesota include Rudy Gobert (14 points, 16 rebounds) and Karl-Anthony Towns (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists).

Devin Booker scored 18 points, while Bradley Beal scored 15. Royce O’Neale scored 14 of the Suns’ 18 bench points. Phoenix outrebounded 52-28 that day.

It was a statement game from the Timberwolves, who set the tone early and never looked back after falling behind in the first. The Suns never seemed to have an answer for everything Minnesota did, and Vogel certainly has his work cut out for him in the coming days.