MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Anthony Edwards was happy to get a victory in the first playoff game of his career.
Now he and the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves want a lot more.
Edwards scored 36 points in his playoff debut, and the seventh-seeded Timberwolves upset the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies 130-117 on Saturday to take the field advantage in the first round of their Western Conference first-round series.
“To put on another show,” said Edwards, the first pick in the 2020 draft. “This is it. To put on another show and have a winning impact.
All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns added 29 points and 13 rebounds. Malik Beasley had 23 points and Jaden McDaniels 15. Patrick Beverley and D’Angelo Russell had 10 each.
The Timberwolves, who just beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the playoff, won their first playoff opener since 2004. That’s when they beat Denver in the first round en route to the Finals of the Western Conference.
Towns said it was a good feeling to come away with a confidence-boosting win.
“We did a lot of little things necessary to win,” Towns said. “We should be very proud of our performance.”
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Memphis.
Ja Morant led Memphis with 32 points and eight assists, and Dillon Brooks added 24 points. Brandon Clarke had 13 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Desmond Bane scored 17 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 12.
“I feel like most of it was on us,” Morant said. “That’s why we lost.”
Memphis tied the franchise record by winning 56 games in the regular season and securing its all-time highest seed. The Grizzlies had a packed FedExForum for just their third Game 1 in Memphis. But they struggled early after a week off and only led twice, the last one midway through the second quarter.
“We did our best to stay ready, but it’s been a minute since we played,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “But we have to come out ready to go. We didn’t make it in the first quarter and we paid for it.
In this showdown of the NBA’s best offense and two of the league’s youngest teams this season, the Timberwolves set franchise records for points in the first quarter and in the game. They also thwarted Memphis with their 3-point shooting, rebounds and defense.
The Timberwolves looked like a team that played Tuesday night and needed a win to clinch their standings. They started with a 9-2 run and led until 13 before a 41-33 lead for the franchise’s highest first quarter in the playoffs.
Minnesota led 65-62 at halftime, then edged Memphis 32-30 in the third for a 97-92 lead going into the fourth quarter.
EDWARDS AGAINST MORAN
This series pitting the No. 1 pick in the 2020 Draft against the No. 2 pick in the 2019 Draft certainly comes in this game. Edwards and Morant became the first opposing players in NBA history to each score at least 30 in a playoff game at age 22 or younger.
Edwards joined Derrick Rose, Tyler Herro and Magic Johnson scoring at least 35 points in a playoff game before turning 21.
“When he’s playing basketball at this level, he’s almost unstoppable,” Towns said. “He’s unstoppable, actually.”
Timberwolves: They surpassed the 121 points scored on April 21, 2018 against Houston in the only game they won in this series. Their first quarter topped 32 points scored on May 23, 2004 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers. … Towns had his 43rd double-double of the season. … Russell had five assists in the third quarter. But he was 2 of 11 to shoot for eight points after scoring 37 in his last game against Memphis in February.
Grizzlies: Jackson set a playoff record with seven blocks in the first three quarters. That topped Marc Gasol’s six blocks on May 13, 2013 against Oklahoma City. … Clarke had his fifth double-double of the season. … Jackson and Steven Adams combined seven rebounds.
The Grizzlies are hoping to leverage their own playoff experience now down 0-1. Memphis won two playoff games last year, then opened the first-round series at Utah with a big win. The Grizzlies lost the next four.
“We were in the same situation last year,” Morant said. “A series can quickly spiral out of control.”
A woman chained herself to the basket post and stopped play with 4:44 left in the second quarter. The woman wore a blue shirt, making it clear that she was part of the animal rights group protesting the factory farms of a Minnesota co-owner, the same situation as the woman who stuck to the ground during the Timberwolves playoff earlier this week.
Zoe Rosenburg, 19, had a chain attached to the back of the Timberwolves’ bench basket closets. She was taken to the back and removed from the arena after security personnel removed the chain around her neck. She was arrested and detained Saturday night at the Shelby County Jail for disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Memphis.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Suggest a fix