Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards made a lasting impression on Saturday in his playoff debut against Memphis. Edwards broke down the door and dominated the Grizzlies, setting a new Twelves record by scoring for a player in his first playoff game.
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Edwards surpassed Stephon Marbury's record 28 points in his first career playoff game with a 36-point performance. He also became the third-youngest player in NBA history to post a 35-point playoff outing. Only Magic Johnson (42), Tyler Hero (37) and now Edwards (36) have accomplished this before the age of 21.
If it hasn't been said already, let me be the first to say it. Anthony Edwards has arrived. He led the Twelves in scoring with 30 points in their playoff win over the Clippers. Then he sprints out of the gates against the Grizzlies, leading the way as the Twelves punched them in the mouth in Game 1 of the series.
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You might not have noticed, but Edwards slowly took over this team. He has made his presence felt in a major way all season. In December, Edwards became the youngest player in NBA history to make 10 three-pointers in a game. Without Edwards (and D'Angelo Russell) in the playoff against the Clippers last week, the Twelves would have lost. L.A. had no answer for Edwards on the perimeter or at the basket. He simply dominated, guiding Minnesota to its first playoff appearance since 2018.
Playing in Minnesota, most fans across the country probably didn't see much of Edwards during his first two NBA campaigns. Now Edwards can show off his skills in front of a national audience in this first-round game against Memphis. Believe it or not, we can look back at the end of that streak with Memphis and say Edwards was the best player on the court. Yes, in a series that features both Ja Mordant and Karl-Anthony Towns, I say Edwards might be the best and most impactful player on the court.
This kid doesn't seem to fear the moment. So far, he's risen to the challenge of hitting big shots in big runs during the play-ins and playoffs. In the playoff against the Clippers last week, Edwards offered big play after big play to keep them at bay whenever LA started making a late run. He never looked like he was shaken or shaken by this moment.
That's exactly the kind of intensity a young team like Minnesota needs. If anyone has ice water in their veins, it's Edwards. Then he backed up that play-in performance with an even better performance against the Grizzlies. And Edwards has personality in addition to being a great player on the court. This was evident in his reaction to Memphis fans' "trash talk" in Game 1. Edwards just smiled and continued to throw buckets at the home team.
If Edwards continues to produce those great postseason games, the Timberwolves could advance to the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. The only other time Minnesota made it past the first round was in 2004, when Kevin Garnett led the team to its only Western Conference Finals appearance. So there's a lot at stake here for Edwards and these young guns.
The Twelves have the creation of an organic Big Three in their hands right now. Between Edwards, Towns and Russell, Minnesota is expected to be in the Western Conference playoff conversation for years to come. With Edwards leading the way with his game and attitude, it might not be long before we see this team back in the WCF.
During the regular season, Memphis was the big story because of the big leap they took from last year to now. If they're not careful, Minnesota can commandeer that national spotlight. If Edwards has any say in the matter, I think the odds are now in his five.