Anthony Edwards scores 40 as Timberwolves sweep Suns

PHOENIX — Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Edwards noticed the Phoenix Suns changed their defense early in the third quarter, playing him one-on-one most of the time instead of using double teams from the first half.

The budding superstar took it up as a challenge.

“It was like you had to beat us,” Edwards said. “I showed them.”

Edwards scored 31 of his 40 points in the second half, Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 overall and the Timberwolves beat the Suns 122-116 on Sunday night to clinch a first-round playoff series.

The Timberwolves went 19 seasons between playoff streaks, tied for the third-longest streak in NBA history.

Edwards finished 13-of-23 from the field, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range. The 22-year-old guard threw down a powerful, one-handed jam to give Minnesota a 115-111 lead with 2:14 left.

“We've watched him grow and evolve as a leader, as a player and as a person,” Wolves center Rudy Gobert said. “It was fun.”

Phoenix will never recover.

The Wolves finished off the Suns despite Devin Booker's 49 points on 13-of-21 shooting. He made 20 of 21 free throws. Kevin Durant scored 33 points, but other players struggled.

Minnesota won after coach Chris Finch exited late in the fourth game after an inadvertent collision with Wolves defender Mike Conley. Assistant coach Micah Norrie took over for the final 1:41, and the Wolves closed with relative ease.

Minnesota's Jaden McDaniels scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and the Wolves held a 44-33 rebounding advantage.

It was a tight fourth quarter, and the Suns tied it at 107 with 4:30 left on Royce O'Neal's 3-pointer. Edwards and McDaniels hit back-to-back corner 3s to put the Wolves up 113-109 with 3:20 left.

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The Wolves now wait to see if they will face the Denver Nuggets or Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. Denver leads the series 3-1.

“Their whole team gave us a lot of problems,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said of the Wolves. “Role players, stars. Anthony Edwards is a special, special talent. Their bigs played well.”

Edwards hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter, and McDaniels followed with a powerful dunk to help Minnesota turn a six-point deficit into a 68-66 lead. It was a big third for Edwards, who hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points.

Booker responded, scoring 18 points in the quarter, and the Suns led 92-90 heading into the fourth.

It was a tough game for three-time All-Star Bradley Beal, who managed just nine points before fouling out on 4-of-13 shooting for Phoenix.

“They executed late and we didn't,” Booker said.

The Suns threw a variety of looks at the Wolves in the first half, using five perimeter players at various times to keep big men Gobert and Towns away from the basket.

Booker hit a fallaway jumper at the buzzer to give the Suns a 61-56 lead. Durant led Phoenix with 20 points before halftime, while Booker had 17. Downs had 15 points for the Wolves.

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Suns guard Grayson Allen missed his second straight game after suffering a sprained right ankle in Game 1 that worsened in Game 2. He averaged 13.5 points per game and led the NBA in 3-point percentage during the regular season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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