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Phoenix Suns scored in Game 1 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLISAnthony Edwards scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter and had nine rebounds to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a tone-setting 120-95 win over the Phoenix Suns to start the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.

Karl-Anthony Towns added 19 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting and Rudy Gobert closed the court with 14 points, 16 rebounds and consistent shot-altering defense to lead the Wolves to their first Game 1 . home win in the play-offs in 20 years.

Kevin Durant scored 31 points on 11-for-17 shooting to lead the Suns, whose depth and size disadvantages were exploited. Devin Booker had 18 points on 5-for-16 shooting and Bradley Beal added 15 points, but the Suns outrebounded 52-28 and outscored the Wolves 52-34 in the paint.

Game 2 takes place Tuesday in Minneapolis before the best-of-seven series shifts to Phoenix for Game 3.

Edwards led a 19-4 run to end the third quarter, stretching his arms wide to connect with the crowd after some of his biggest shots that stretch. He stared and barked at Durant, who could only grin at the 22-year-old’s bravado.

With 3:37 to go, Edwards highlighted this performance by stealing the ball from Durant – after Gobert poked it loose – and finishing with a slam on the other end.

His enthusiasm was contagious all afternoon. After picking up his third foul late in the second quarter, Edwards spun on the bench in a towel in tribute to the effort to take the double-digit lead for the first time in the game.

Durant, the 14-time All-Star with two championship rings who arrived in the desert a little more than a year ago as the first move in the major roster overhaul, has been in excellent playoff form. Whether it’s a fadeaway, a turnaround or a spot-up, the Wolves and their N.B.A The top defense had no answer as the 6-foot-2 Durant climbed into the air with his smooth jump shot.

But Booker, the anchor of the big three with Durant and Beal, the only remaining player from the 2021 team that reached the NBA Finals, had nothing to match. He couldn’t drop layups, let alone jumpers. Grayson Allen, the league’s leading three-point shooter, missed all three of his shots and had just four points.

For the first time since moving to Target Center 34 years ago, the Wolves sold out every home game this season. Their fans – as wary of a postseason run as any other American professional sports – brought finals-level energy to the first round that the Wolves have not escaped since their only advancement two decades ago, a crowd made up of former (Adrian Peterson) and current (Justin Jefferson) Vikings stars.

The big money players gave the Wolves what they needed, but one of their advantages in this series should be a bench that supported the side with a 41-18 lead over the Suns’ reserves.

Alexander-Walker found himself in the thick of the second quarter, highlighted by his interception of a stray pass from Allen in the lane to set up a fast-break layup in the final minute of the half. Alexander-Walker hit a three-pointer in the corner just before the third quarter buzzer for a 20-point lead.

Wolves backup Kyle Anderson took a hip pointer in the second quarter and did not return.

Minnesota went 20 for 22 from the free throw line. Towns was 8 for 8, and Gobert went 6 for 7.