NBA playoffs

Quick finish: Edwards drops 40 as Timberwolves sweep Suns


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Quick finish: Edwards drops 40 as Timberwolves sweep Suns

STAR. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of game four of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Anthony Edwards takes over in the second half as the Timberwolves win a playoff series for the first time in 20 years

Anthony Edwards scored 31 of his 40 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves completed a four-game sweep of the host Phoenix Suns with a 122-116 victory in their Western Conference first-round series on Sunday, April 28 (Monday, April 29, Manila time).

Edwards made seven three-pointers and had 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the third-seeded Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota won a playoff series for the first time in 20 years.

“I knew we had a chance to sweep them and why would we want to go back to Minnesota,” Edwards said. “We know the recipe. They came out and competed. They played hard tonight.”

Jaden McDaniels added 18 points and Mike Conley had 10 points and 7 assists for the Timberwolves, who will face either the Denver Nuggets or Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.

Devin Booker scored a playoff-career-high 49 points for the sixth-seeded Suns. Booker made 13 of 21 shots from the floor and hit 20 of 21 free throw attempts.

Kevin Durant added 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting for Phoenix. He also had 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocked shots.

“They made more shots than us,” Durant said. “They made more plays. You have got to give them credit. They played a great series.”

Minnesota coach Chris Finch was helped off the court with 1:41 left after being run into by Conley. Booker fouled Conley on the play just before the latter slammed into Finch.

Assistant coach Micah Nori ran the Timberwolves down the stretch.

“We don’t know anything for sure,” Nori said of Finch’s injury after the game. “Obviously took a hit. Lower leg – kind of like hockey. Lower-body injury. … The whole team went down to the medical room. He’s in good spirits.”

The Athletic reported the team feared Finch suffered a torn patellar tendon in his knee.

Minnesota led 113-109 after a three-pointer by McDaniels with 3:25 remaining.

Booker made two free throws to bring the Suns within 2 points but Edwards answered with an acrobatic dunk with 2:14 left. Edwards added two free throws 18 seconds later to make it 117-111.

A dunk by Edwards made it 121-115 with 19.5 seconds left as Minnesota closed it out and won a playoff series for the first time since beating the Sacramento Kings in the West semifinals in 2004.

“So impressed by Ant (Edwards),” Durant said. “He’s my favorite player to watch. His love for the game shines bright. He’s taken advantage of every opportunity he’s gotten. He’s going to be somebody I’m following the rest of my career.”

Phoenix’s Grayson Allen (ankle) missed his second straight game.

Minnesota shot 46.1% from the floor, including 15 of 36 from three-point range.

The Suns made 51.4% of their shots and were 10 of 26 from behind the arc.

Durant had 20 points and Booker added 19 in the first half as the Suns led 61-56 at the break. Towns scored 15 in the half for Minnesota.

Edwards made two treys and McDaniels added a dunk during an 8-0 run in which the Timberwolves took a 68-66 lead with 8:35 left in the third quarter.

Booker later made two free throws with 11.1 seconds remaining as Phoenix took a 92-90 lead into the final stanza. –

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