NBA playoffs

Stepping up: Timberwolves seize 2-0 edge on Durant, Suns


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Stepping up: Timberwolves seize 2-0 edge on Durant, Suns

HUSTLE. Suns star Kevin Durant (right) and Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels go after a loose ball in Game 2 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Despite a subpar performance from Minnesota top gun Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves roll past the star-studded Suns again

Jaden McDaniels scored 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away for a 105-93 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinals series on Tuesday, April 23 (Wednesday, April 24, Manila time) in Minneapolis.

Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert finished with 18 points apiece for Minnesota, which seized a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Timberwolves won by double digits despite a subpar night from Anthony Edwards, who shot 3-of-12 from the field but finished with 15 points thanks in part to 7-of-8 success at the free-throw line.

McDaniels said Tuesday’s game might have been the best of his career.

“It’s close – for sure, yeah,” McDaniels said. “Twenty-five points in a playoff game, there’s nothing more I could ask for.”

Devin Booker led the Suns with 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting, though he was 1-for-6 from three-point range. 

Kevin Durant finished with 18 points and Bradley Beal scored 14, but the pair combined to shoot 12-of-32 from the field.

Minnesota outscored Phoenix 55-42 in the second half to secure the victory.

Booker said he and his teammates needed to communicate more on the court.

“Just talking to each other, holding each other accountable,” Booker said. “We’re all trying to fight out there and, so far this series, once it has turned (difficult), we’ve kind of separated instead of being together. And that’s everybody, top to bottom. We’ve got to figure it out.”

A 12-0 run helped the Timberwolves gain control in the third quarter. They trailed 63-60 before McDaniels made a dunk to start the surge.

Edwards scored 6 points during the run with four free throws and a step-back jump shot. Naz Reid also scored a basket and McDaniels made a basket to finish the run, which put Minnesota on top 72-63 with 2:44 left in the third.

McDaniels struck again late in the fourth quarter to put the Timberwolves ahead 102-83 with 4:41 left, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. The Suns trailed by double digits the rest of the way.

Suns guard Grayson Allen aggravated his sprained right ankle and exited the game early in the second half. Allen, who averaged 13.5 points a game during the regular season, finished with three points and three rebounds in 17 minutes.

Phoenix held on to a 51-50 advantage at halftime.

The Suns led by as many as 8 points midway through the second quarter. Drew Eubanks took a pass from Beal and finished with a dunk to make it 42-34 with 6:06 to go before the break.

Minnesota scored 16 of the final 25 points in the first half to cut the deficit to one. McDaniels capped the first-half scoring by sinking a floating jump shot with 32 seconds left. –

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