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Quick takeaway from Sun’s loss

MINNEAPOLIS – Immediate takeaway from Phoenix Suns losing Game 1 to Minnesota Timberwolves, 120-95, Saturday afternoon in the first round of the NBA playoffs – T-Wolves answered the bell.

From Anthony Edwards going solar with a game-high 33 points, including trash-talking Kevin Durant after hitting a 3 over him in the second half to Nickeil Alexander-Walker providing a spark off the bench, Minnesota fed off the sellout crowd of 19,478 at Target Center in taking a 1-0 series lead.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The T-Wolves heard all week that Phoenix beat them 3-0 in the season series.

They heard all week as Bradley Beal cooked them for 36 points, going 6-of-6 from 3 in Phoenix’s 125-106 win last Sunday at the same Target Center.

They heard all week that they couldn’t beat the Suns with their two big players: Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

Then they responded.

The T-Wolves broke open a back-and-forth first quarter by outscoring the Suns 65-45 to build a 20-point lead through three quarters.

Minnesota led by as many as 27 on Saturday. The T-Wolves’ largest lead in the regular season against Phoenix was three.

They limited Beal to 15 points on 6-10 shooting (1-for-3 from 3) when Jaden McDaniels and Edwards took on the challenge of guarding him, not Mike Conley.

The T-Wolves also didn’t go small when the Suns did, but stuck with the big lineup. Towns finished with 19 points, while Gobert added a double-double, his first against the Suns this season, of 14 points and 16 rebounds. Minnesota did play Towns at the five with Gobert on the bench and vice versa for small stretches, but didn’t abandon the big lineup.

The Suns adjusted to the T-Wolves in the going zone instead of the T-Wolves adjusting to them. The zone didn’t stop Minnesota from getting into the paint, drawing the defense and getting point-blank looks to the rim or limiting 3s.

Durant led the Suns with 31 points, while Devin Booker managed just 18 on 5-of-16 shooting. The Suns also lost Grayson Allen in the third quarter to a right ankle injury. The NBA’s best three-point shooter scored four points, all on free throws, as he failed on his three three-point attempts.

Alexander-Walker matched Booker’s point total coming off the bench, going 4-for-9 from 3.

Do you have an opinion on the current state of the suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @DuaneRankin.

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