August 19, 2022

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Karl-Anthony Cities put forth maybe his worst sport as an expert Tuesday at Goal Middle. The large man scored simply 11 factors on 3 for 11 taking pictures, committing 4 turnovers earlier than fouling out after simply 24 minutes of motion.

He went to the bench after choosing up foul No. 6 with 7 minutes, 30 seconds to play, and Minnesota down seven.

And the Wolves gained anyway.

D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards delivered impressed efforts, taking up the sport offensively at numerous factors within the contest, notably down the stretch, to steer Minnesota to an exhilarating 109-104 victory over the Clippers in a play-in sport that seals the No. 7 seed within the playoffs for the Timberwolves.

Minnesota will meet the Grizzlies in Sport 1 of its first-round collection Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Memphis, in what will probably be simply the Wolves’ second playoff look since 2004.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch famous the significance and worth of placing his younger workforce in big-game conditions and seeing what it might do.

The Wolves have performed in intense, packed homes this yr in opposition to good groups, however there’s one thing to be stated about doing it within the postseason, with every part on the road. That was Goal Middle on Tuesday, a packed home in opposition to a very good workforce with large implications on the road.

It was an all-out battle between two groups of comparable caliber. It was bodily, it was emotional, it was intense.

And Minnesota was up for the problem in opposition to a workforce that was within the Western Convention Finals only a yr in the past.

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The Wolves locked in defensively within the fourth quarter with every part on the road, making the Clippers’ lives troublesome. On the opposite finish, Edwards and Russell exploded, with Edwards delivering an enormous jam and Russell hitting a pullup triple in transition.

Patrick Beverley held off Reggie Jackson for a rebound with 3 minutes, 30 seconds to play. A foul was known as on Jackson, and Beverley immediately flexed to the crowed to convey an already electrical crowd to max quantity.

Main by one with 2:30 to play, Edwards related on a step again triple over Paul George to construct Minnesota’s benefit again as much as 4. The following possession, Russell hit a pullup jumper to enhance the sting to 6.

Russell — who’d struggled down the stretch run of the common season — completed with 29 factors, whereas Edwards led the way in which with 30. They have been the 2 greatest gamers on the ground, no matter workforce.

The youthful Wolves have been as much as the problem, too. Naz Reid made well timed performs down low. Jaden McDaniels defended George — who scored 17 factors within the third quarter to place the Clippers up six on the finish of three — with vigor.

Cities famous Tuesday morning he felt a way of confidence, understanding the belief he had in his teammates. He in all probability didn’t know precisely how a lot he’d depend on them. On an evening when Minnesota’s alpha wolf didn’t come to play, everybody else did.

Cities obtained the “MVP” chants early within the contest, however on the finish, as he was drilling a pair of free-throws to place Minnesota up 5 with 39 seconds to play, it was Edwards who was receiving the star remedy from the group.

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He took over the present.

Some gamers appear to be constructed for the intense lights, the massive stage, the toughness and grit of playoff basketball.

Edwards established Tuesday that he’s one in all them.

Now the nation is aware of what followers in Minnesota have seen for fairly a while — a really particular gamers sports activities a No. 1 jersey for the Timberwolves.

He’ll once more take middle stage Saturday on the website of his subsequent act — Memphis, in the true playoffs.