Northwest Notes: Edwards, Murray, Nuggets, Kessler

Never mind momentum, home-court advantage, or the tactical adjustments that have led to four blowouts in the first six games of an unpredictable series. Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards sees a simple calculation for tonight’s Game 7 at Denver, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“I think we’re confident just because we’re a great team,” Edwards told reporters on Saturday. “And we’re going against another great team, (but) we feel like we’re just the better team. That’s all the confidence that we need. The two previous games don’t mean anything because they beat our a– on our home court (in Game 3 and 4). That don’t mean anything. Right now, it’s just about who’s going to play better tomorrow.”

If Minnesota does prevail, Edwards figures to be a main reason, Amick adds. He’s averaging 29.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in the series while playing 40 minutes per night. He’s also shooting 55.1% from the field and 41.5% from beyond the arc and serving as a key component of a defense that has often overwhelmed the Nuggets. Throughout the series, the Wolves are plus-32 with him on the court and minus-4 when he’s resting.

“First of all, he’s a competitor,” assistant coach Elston Turner said of Edwards. “He is a competitor. You can tell that from the amount of times that he’s tweaked an ankle, hurt his back, got banged up, but he never leaves the f—ing game. He never leaves the game. So I expect him to compete (in Game 7).”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Jamal Murray is “feeling great” after participating in a full practice on Saturday, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Murray, who hurt his right elbow when he ran into a screen early in Game 6, stayed late after practice for extra shooting.
  • After storming through the playoffs on their way to an NBA title last year, the Nuggets are already facing an elimination game in round two this year, notes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Denver is hoping its edge in postseason experience works to its advantage, and Malone told his players to try to have fun, hoping to change their mindset coming off a 45-point loss in Game 6. “I think experience is a great teacher,” he said. “I think that Game 7s can be too big for some. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that we are going to be ready to go in front of a great crowd. We want to enjoy the moment because a Game 7 represents the two best words in sports. You play all season to get a Game 7 at home, and we’re excited for it and hopefully, we can take advantage of it.”
  • The Jazz interviewed centers Zach Edey and Donovan Clingan at the draft combine, but that doesn’t mean they’re looking for a replacement for Walker Kessler, explains Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. She states that the team remains “invested” in Kessler’s future and was just doing due diligence by talking to the best players at every position. Team sources told Todd that they’re closely monitoring several wing players with their lottery pick.
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