NBA: Anthony Edwards has 51, Timberwolves rally to top Wizards

NBA: Anthony Edwards has 51, Timberwolves come back to top Wizards

/ 12:23 PM April 10, 2024

Anthony Edwards Timberwolves beat Wizards NBA

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates his 3-point basket against the Washington Wizards during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt Krohn)

MINNEAPOLIS — Anthony Edwards scored a career-high 51 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame an early 21-point deficit with a dominant second half to beat the Washington Wizards 130-121 in the NBA on Tuesday night.

Edwards had 30 points in the second half. Nickeil Alexander-Walker finished with 23 points and Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won four of five and eight of 10.

Edwards credited coach Chris Finch for keeping him focused ahead of the matchup with one of the worst teams in the league.

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“He put me in the office 2-3 days ago and said, ‘Look man we’ve got this Washington game, and we need to win it, need to come ready to play and you can’t treat it like any other game,’” Edwards said.

Minnesota has clinched a top-three seed in the NBA Western Conference and has a showdown at Denver on Wednesday with a potential No. 1 seed at stake.

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“I don’t even need to talk about how big it is. Everybody knows,” Edwards said.

READ: NBA: Timberwolves gain ground in West with win over Rockets

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The Timberwolves and Nuggets are tied atop the West, one game ahead of Oklahoma City. Denver beat Utah and the Thunder beat Sacramento Tuesday night to keep pace.

Minnesota improved to 12-5 without All-Star forward Karl-Anthony Towns. The team announced Tuesday that Towns has been cleared for full-contact, five-on-five basketball activities in anticipation of his return, which could occur as soon as Friday.

A 3-pointer by Edwards gave Minnesota its first lead at 92-89 with 2:04 to play in the third quarter. Before the period expired, Edwards added another 3, scored on a fast-break dunk and fed Gobert for a dunk to push the lead to 99-92.

“We needed all of them, for sure,” Finch said. “The best thing about it for me was they came in the flow. He kept making the right play down the stretch for the most part. He was really finding people. Guys were knocking down shots, too. He was aggressive getting to the hoop. I thought he turned the game around, along with Nickeil, in getting to the basket.”

Edwards scored on a turnaround jumper, Gobert had another dunk and Alexander-Walker scored on a reverse layup for a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Edwards’ layup with 2:36 to go and his drive with 1:34 left established a personal best, topping the 49 points he scored against San Antonio on April 7, 2022. His total was tied for the fifth-most points in a game by a Minnesota player. Towns had 62 on Jan. 22 against Charlotte.

“We could have done a little better job getting the ball out of his hands, but credit to him, he put them on his back. (Mike) Conley had a big second half too. There’s a reason they’re one of the best teams in the West,” Washington interim coach Brian Keefe said.

Corey Kispert led the short-handed Wizards with 25 points and Jordan Poole added 24. Washington has lost seven of eight.

The Wizards shot 63% in the first quarter as they went ahead by 21. They led 44-27 at the end of the period, tying a franchise season high for points in a quarter. It was the highest-scoring period by a Minnesota opponent this season.

Minnesota got a dozen points from Edwards but missed 12 of its first 15 shots. The Timberwolves also lost starting center Naz Reid, who was ejected for “unnecessary and excessive” contact after an elbow to the head of Johnny Davis while battling for a rebound.

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Among the players out for Washington were forward Marvin Bagley III (sprained right knee), forward Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain) and forward/center Tristan Vukcevic (left knee soreness).

NEXT NBA SCHEDULE

Wizards: Host Chicago on Friday.

Timberwolves: At Denver on Wednesday.

TAGS: Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

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