Wolves Notes: Edwards, Alexander-Walker, Anderson, Conley

Anthony Edwards scored 33 points in leading the Timberwolves to a convincing Game 1 victory over Phoenix, and he got to tell his basketball hero all about it, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. After sinking a three-pointer late in the third quarter, Edwards pounded his chest as he had an animated, one-sided conversation with Kevin Durant (video link). It was a dream come true for Edwards, who grew up cheering for Durant.

“I think everybody here knows that’s my favorite player of all time, so that was probably one of the best feelings ever in my whole life,” Edwards told reporters.

The Wolves hope today’s rout sends a message about their approach to the playoffs being eliminated in five games last season. They also got some revenge for last Sunday, when they were embarrassed by the Suns and missed a chance to claim the No. 1 seed in the West.

“These guys came here and whooped us in our home court in the last game of the season and were giggling and laughing,” Edwards recalled. (Bradley) Beal, he told our coach that he doesn’t think we play hard enough — and he was right. (Chris) Finch didn’t like that. He came in the next day and was like, ‘Man, you’ve got guys on the other team telling me that y’all don’t play hard enough for me.’ And he was totally right.”

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • The Timberwolves’ edge off the bench was evident in Game 1, particularly from Nickeil Alexander-Walker, observes Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. The reserve shooting guard had a career-best playoff performance with 18 points and registered the highest plus-minus rating of anyone with a +28. His four steals also set a franchise playoff record for a bench player. He and Naz Reid shifted the momentum and helped to erase the lead the Suns held after the first quarter. “Those guys have been so big for us all year,” Finch said. “They have so much confidence no matter what role they’re playing or where we need them. We need those guys to produce, and tonight they did a great job.”
  • Kyle Anderson was declared out for the game after suffering a hip pointer in the second quarter. There’s no word on his status for Tuesday’s Game 2.
  • At age 36, Mike Conley is hoping for at least one more long playoff run before the end of his career, per Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Although Conley has played for several good teams, he hasn’t reached the conference finals since 2013. “I told the guys that, selfishly, do it for me, man,” Conley said. “Help me out. Meet me at my level right now because I don’t got long. Y’all got forever, it feels like.”
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