August 10, 2022

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Anthony Edwards is the flame that ignites Timberwolves’ spirit

There have been definitely causes to query how the Timberwolves would appear and feel in Sport 4 of their first-round playoff collection in opposition to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday in Minneapolis. Minnesota was simply 48 hours faraway from a gut-wrenching defeat in Sport 3.

Certain, the Wolves have proven resilience in troublesome occasions all season, however blowing a 25-point lead with quarter-hour to play in a playoff sport is a unique sort of low.

It was solely honest to surprise if the Wolves had it in them to reply and strategy their subsequent sport with the right mindset.

After which Anthony Edwards emerged for his post-shootaround media availability the morning of the sport, and such considerations dissipated.

How is the workforce feeling, Ant?

“We’re feeling nice,” stated the 20-year-old guard, who was beaming with confidence and had his signature smile glued to his face. “Yeah, higher than ever. … I feel we’re going to convey it tonight.”

Certain sufficient, they did.

The final response to these phrases from followers on social media was “Nicely, if Anthony Edwards is assured, then so am I.” A downtrodden fan base that is aware of nothing however disappointment can’t assist however be lifted up by the second-year standout wing. His everlasting confidence and aura modifications moods simply as swiftly as he impacts video games.

Edwards appears to have the identical affect on his teammates. The swagger with which he carries himself has unlocked one other degree of confidence for a lot of of his teammates, and the group at giant.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch has spoken all yr of the workforce’s collective “spirit.” The Wolves merely don’t get down on themselves and each other, even in troublesome occasions — and No. 1 performs a big function in that.

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“He’s simply fairly unfazed from play to play, sport to sport,” Wolves coach Chris Finch stated. “Stays extraordinarily assured no matter what’s occurring or what simply occurred. Whether or not it’s a mistake in a sure possession or dangerous quarter, dangerous half, dangerous sport, it doesn’t matter. He bounces again with the identical perspective each single time.”

Jordan McLaughlin stated each participant provides his personal “pinch of sugar” into the workforce spirit pot. However Edwards’ mojo is definitely felt.

“Him and his loud self … you know the way charismatic he’s,” McLaughlin stated.

That was on full show throughout his postgame press convention late Saturday evening, as Edwards was joined on the podium by McLaughlin. Edwards leapt onto the stage as soon as Karl-Anthony Cities was accomplished fielding questions, shouting for McLaughlin to “hurry your (butt) on” and be part of him up there.

“Yeah, J-Mac within the media!” Edwards shouted. “J-Mac! Yeah, man.”

Edwards grabbed a field rating and instantly touted McLaughlin’s plus-minus of plus-six — the best quantity on the workforce. He then proceeded to primarily solely subject questions on McLaughlin, ensuing the reserve level guard obtained most shine after his 16-point efficiency that final swung Sport 4 in Minnesota’s favor.

Edwards’ affect on workforce morale extends properly past the power. There’s a sure genuineness and care that reverberates via his messages. McLaughlin was requested after his Sport 4 heroics if he was upset he was left on the bench for Sport 3. Then there was a follow-up asking if McLaughlin is somebody who will get offended within the midst of adversity.

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“I acquired this,” Edwards interjected. “No, he don’t get offended. Jordan McLaughlin and Josh Okogie are the perfect teammates I’ve ever performed with in my life. For them to love go from enjoying this many minutes to a few 4 video games not getting within the sport and nonetheless have the identical power as in the event that they performed is out of this world. I can’t examine anyone else to them two individuals.”

Messages like that from star gamers carry a ton of weight.

“It’s enormous,” McLaughlin stated. “For a man his age to have that sort of management and that presence and know the blokes that aren’t the so-called stars of the workforce, however to note the little issues that, one via 15 on our roster, the little issues that everyone does, it’s good to see.”

That’s to not say he received’t get on guys. He was the one imploring Cities to be extra aggressive and decisive all through the season — traits Cities displayed in spades within the workforce’s Sport 4 victory.

And also you’ll additionally see his dismay every time the all-star middle knocks a rebound away from a teammate or anybody blows a defensive project, one thing the guard is susceptible to doing himself. Edwards was the one who vocalized his displeasure with the lack of the highest scorers — himself, Cities and D’Angelo Russell — to share the ball early within the season, which slowed down your complete offense.

But any criticism is supposed to be constructive.  On the finish of the day, Edwards is everybody’s largest cheerleader.

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The sound of the wing shouting “Yeah, KAT! Yeah, KAT!” from any one of many massive man’s stellar performances this season continues to be reverberating via the Goal Middle corridors.

May anybody actually keep down lengthy when Edwards is strutting across the facility, oozing his vivaciousness and positivity?

“Most likely not,” Finch admitted with a smile.