Timberwolves keys to victory revealed in Game 1 rout over Suns

Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1
Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1 / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Following a dominant second half en route to a 120-95 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 on Saturday afternoon, the Minnesota Timberwolves will attempt to take a 2-0 series lead in a pivotal Game 2 today at the Target Center.

Chris Finch’s team was trailing 28-27 after the first quarter before finishing on a 93-67 run and eventually cruising to a critical victory in the series opener, powered by the best rebound differential (+24) in Timberwolves playoff history.

In addition to being fueled by a historic performance from star guard Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves were able to blow past the Suns behind a great defensive effort and rebounding prowess to go with consistent bench production.

Minnesota forward Naz Reid and guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker continued to make a significant impact off the bench, outscoring the Phoenix reserves by themselves with a combined 30 points on 6-of-15 shooting from 3-point range.

Despite going 0-3 against the Suns during the regular season, the Timberwolves proved they are a more complete team with the NBA’s top-rated defense, a depth that should play a major role, and an elite scorer leading the way.

Edwards was showered with MVP chants from the crowd after compiling a fourth straight home playoff game with at least 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists, which is tied for the longest streak that Michael Jordan set in 1990.

The All-Star shooting guard led the charge with a spectacular showing in Game 1, scoring 33 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, highlighted by an 18-point outburst in the third quarter alone as the Suns tallied just 21 points in the entire period.

In the aftermath of securing the second-largest playoff win in franchise history, Minnesota must remain dialed in and be prepared for Phoenix to come out desperate with an opportunity to even the series in Game 2 on Tuesday evening.