NBA: Electric Edwards lifts Timberwolves past Suns in Game 4 for 3-0 series lead

NBA: Electric Edwards lifts Timberwolves past Suns in Game 4 for 3-0 series lead

Former No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards came up big for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their emphatic 126-109 Game 3 win over the Suns at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Friday night.

Edwards, who scored 30 or more points for the second time in their ongoing Western Conference first-round playoff series, finished with 36 points, 9 rebounds, and five assists as they took a 3-0 lead over the Suns.

The 22-year-old also tied Hall of Famer and Timberwolves legend Kevin Garnett for the most 30+ point playoff game in franchise history with his seventh such performance.

Minnesota’s dominance all through the three games in the series has been evident, and Game 3 was no different, as they won three of the four quarters, including holding the Suns to just 20 points in a third quarter in which they scored 35 and were red-hot from beyond the arc, shooting 7-of-11 on 3s.

Rudy Gobert finished with 19 points and 14 points, his second straight double-double of the series; Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points and 13 rebounds and was 3/5 from the 3-point line; while veteran guard Mike Conley dished out seven assists to go along with his 15 points as four of the Timberwolves starters ended in double figures.

“We’re just embracing the moment,” Gobert said. “We have only one goal in mind and we’re trying to make sure we don’t get distracted by the success or the ups and downs. We’re just locked in.”

Minnesota never trailed all through the game, and they had three more bench points than the Suns. Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit four 3s in the third quarter to give them a 22-point lead, and he finished with 16 points. Sixth Man of the Year award winner Naz Reid added 13 points, and head coach Chris Finch highlighted the importance of his side starting well.

“This is a team [Suns] you need to dictate terms with,” Finch said. “You don’t want to get behind big on them because of the way they can shoot the ball. That’s been part of our messaging, part of our emphasis, we have to get off to good starts.”

Pheonix never got a hand in the game as they got hammered on the boards with Minnesota totally dominating the rebounding stats. The Wolves finished the game with a 50-28 advantage, including 15-5 on offensive rebounds, and 35-23 on the defensive end.

“We got killed on the boards. This is a bigger, stronger team,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “We’ve got to compete and win the 50-50 balls. I thought our guys gave the effort, but it wasn’t enough.”

Bradley Beal led the Suns with 28 points and six 3s; Kevin Durant had 25 and five assists; Devin Booker poured in 23 and eight assists; while the rest of the team scored just 33 points, with 7-foot center Jusuf Nurkic finishing with three points in 26 minutes.

The Suns are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs via a sweep, but they will be presented with a chance to turn the series around when they host the Timberwolves, who have a 3-0 lead for the first time in franchise playoff history, in Game 4 on Sunday night.

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