Wolves Notes: Shooting, Edwards, KAT, Gobert

Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards took the NBA world by storm through the first two rounds of the playoffs, helping Minnesota achieve its first conference championship appearance in 20 years. However, his shot isn’t falling through two games against Dallas and it has resulted in an 0-2 hole for the team that knocked off the defending champs, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski writes.

On Friday, Edwards had as many turnovers as field-goal attempts (two) in the fourth quarter and produced a shooting line of 29.4% (5-of-17). In his last three games, Edwards is shooting just 29.8% from the field. Karl-Anthony Towns is slumping too, shooting just 27.8% from the field in the first two games of the series compared to his 51.7% clip in the first two rounds.

As Krawczynski writes, it’s as simple as the Mavs’ stars showing up while Minnesota’s haven’t. If Edwards and Towns had shot at replacement level in the first two games, the Wolves’ outlook might be different, considering they’ve lost both games by a combined four points. That’s one key reason why Minnesota’s stars aren’t hitting the panic button yet.

“I don’t think anybody in the locker room is panicking,” Edwards said. “I hope not. Just come out and play our brand of basketball. We let ‘em make a run.”

To their credit, the Wolves are 5-1 on the road this postseason and weathered the storm of Denver winning three straight games just last round.

We have more from the Timberwolves:

  • Towns played 25 minutes in Game 2, making four of his 16 shot attempts. He was benched for the final 8:40 of the fourth quarter (hat tip to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin) while Naz Reid played the entire fourth quarter and registered 23 points off the bench. “I’m with winning, so whatever it takes to win,” Towns said. “Naz has it going. Coach’s decision, I’m fully supportive of my coaching staff. Wouldn’t question them one bit. Of course, I’m always going to be ready to play whenever he calls. Naz got it going, our team was playing well.”
  • While the Wolves themselves don’t seem to be worried, Edwards’ shooting calls into question whether Minnesota can win a title if the All-NBA guard isn’t shooting at his peak, The Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan writes (subscriber link). “He’s got to get more in transition,” head coach Chris Finch said. “He’s got to get out [and run]. … I thought he started the game with a great burst, was really going downhill well. That really phased out as the game went along. He went in there a few times. I thought he could do it more. I thought he turned down some open looks, too.
  • Rudy Gobert made the critical mistake of allowing Luka Doncic to get the step back he was seeking on his game-winning shot, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes. When Gobert reacted strongly to Doncic’s first step, it gave the Mavs superstar all the space he needed to get his shot off. Jones writes that it’s disappointing because Gobert has been exceptional in the playoffs and has defended similar shots from Doncic before.
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