Timberwolves rout Suns by 25 in Game 1

Anthony Edwards was a force on the court, amassing 18 of his impressive 33 points in the telling third quarter along with nine rebounds as he propelled the Minnesota Timberwolves to a commanding 120-95 triumph over the Phoenix Suns in the inaugural round of NBA playoffs on Saturday.

Contributing to the Timberwolves’ victory was Karl-Anthony Towns’ 19 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s 18 points earned on a stellar 7-for-12 shooting performance, and Rudy Gobert’s intimidating presence in the lane, who chalked up 14 points, hauled in 16 rebounds, and persistently altered shots to guide the Wolves towards their first Game 1 playoff home triumph in two decades.

Despite the Suns, seeded sixth, having won all three regular-season matchups and the third-seeded Wolves trailing by double digits throughout the second halves, the tables turned dramatically.

Kevin Durant, top-scoring for the Suns with 31 points on 11-for-17 shooting, couldn’t compensate for the team’s deficiencies in depth and size. Devin Booker managed 18 points on 5-for-16 shooting, while Bradley Beal chipped in 15 points, but the Suns were dominated 52-28 on the boards and 52-34 in the paint by the Wolves.

The second game is slated for Tuesday in Minneapolis before the best-of-seven series transitions to Phoenix for game three.

Edwards spearheaded a 19-4 run to wrap up the third quarter, thrilling the crowd with a series of clutch shots. He playfully challenged Durant, who could only admire the young gun’s confidence.

With just over three and a half minutes remaining, Edwards delivered a show-stopping moment, nabbing the ball from Durant after Gobert disrupted his handling, and finished with a thunderous slam dunk.

Despite picking up his third foul late in the second quarter, Edwards’ infectious energy buoyed the team. He cheered from the bench, twirling a towel in homage to the Wolves’ lead extending into double digits for the first time in the game.

Durant, a seasoned playoff veteran and a 14-time All-Star demonstrated his prowess. His fadeaways, turnarounds, and spot-ups perplexed the Wolves’ reputed defense. However, Booker, a vital piece in the Suns’ star-studded trio, faltered as he struggled to sink layups and jump shots.

Grayson Allen, the league’s leading 3-point shooter, was held to just four points and had to exit early due to a sprained ankle, casting doubts over his availability for Game 2.

The Timberwolves enjoyed a spectacular season, with sellout crowds for every home game, a trend unseen since moving into the Target Center 34 years ago. The fans, eager for a deep playoff run, brought a finals-like intensity to a first-round series the Wolves hadn’t advanced from in 20 years.

The Timberwolves’ high-earning players delivered as expected, but their bench provided a significant edge, outscoring the Suns’ reserves 41-18.

Alexander-Walker was instrumental, intercepting a stray pass by Allen to set up a fast break layup just before halftime. He also drained a corner 3-pointer just as the third quarter ended, extending their lead to 20 points.

The Wolves demonstrated exceptional accuracy at the free-throw line, converting 20 of their 22 attempts. Towns went a perfect 8-for-8, while Gobert sank 6 of his 7 attempts.

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