Edwards outduels Jokic: Wolves ‘know who we are’

Sports

DENVER — Anthony Edwards scored a playoff career-high 43 points, Naz Reid had 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets 106-99 in Game 1 of the second-round series Saturday night.

Edwards was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 25 points, and Reid took over in the fourth quarter. Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points despite dealing with foul trouble.

Edwards is coming off a 40-point performance to close out the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of that first-round series. He joins Kobe Bryant in 2001 as the only players with consecutive 40-point games at age 22 or younger in NBA postseason history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Game 2 is Monday night in Denver.

Three days after undergoing knee surgery, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch was on the bench in the second row, next to the scorer’s table and behind assistant coach Micah Nori, who did the instructing and roaming off the bench.

Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic had 32 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for Denver, but also had seven turnovers. Jamal Murray scored 17 points after being held scoreless in the first half.

Tied at 84, the Timberwolves went on an 18-7 run to break it open. Reid had 10 straight points for the Timberwolves at one point during the pivotal stretch.

Last year, the Wolves were a tough first-round opponent for Denver despite being without Reid (broken wrist) and Jaden McDaniels (broken hand) and with Karl-Anthony Towns coming off a severe calf strain that had cost him 52 games. This time, not a single Timberwolves player was listed on the injury report.

Aside from being healthier, the Timberwolves were much better thanks to the dramatic improvement in Edwards’ game, Denver coach Michael Malone suggested.

“There’s no weaknesses in his game,” Malone said. “And it’s going to be a hell of a challenge trying to slow him down.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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