Anthony Edwards Dominated Devin Booker in Wolves Game 1 Win

Anthony Edwards Dominated Devin Booker in Wolves Game 1 Win article feature image

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Pictured: Anthony Edwards

If the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to break the sad story that comprises their playoff history, they're going to need the ascension of Anthony Edwards.

And on Saturday afternoon, in Game 1 of a series many felt the Wolves were doomed in, Edwards rose to the occasion.

This has been some time coming. The Wolves showed flashes of this in the past two first-round playoff exits, but it was going to take something more from Edwards this year — and still will. It isn't going to be enough for Edwards to have good quarters or halves. Minnesota needs great games.

Edwards gave the Wolves a great game in Minnesota's Game 1 win over the Phoenix Suns, scoring 33 points on 14-of-24 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists. That's a great line.

What's even more important is that Edwards did it by tearing Devin Booker apart.

This was spectacular footwork, but also a sign of how Booker is both too slow and too small for Edwards:

When Booker was put into more complex actions, Edwards had all this room for easy catches and moves to score:

The Suns went away from it in the second half and tried to play at the level with Jusuf Nurkic (which isn't his strength). That meant Booker had to be the low man to help. That was bad, too:

As if Kevin Durant wasn't asked to do enough in this game, he also had to take over guarding Edwards, but by that point, Edwards was hot and feeling it:

This is ultimately a meaningless play, except for the fact that it's emblematic of the kind of attitude Edwards has. When people talk about the Michael Jordan comparisons, it's stuff like this, going for the unnecessary foot stomp, that they're referencing:

Edwards was 4-of-7 with Booker guarding him and 3-of-6 vs Durant. His 3-of-8 vs. Bradley Beal likely deserves monitoring going forward.

Durant had 31 points on 17 shots. He was a -20.

There was a lot for the Wolves to feel good about in Game 1. They went into the game with strategic adjustments that left the Suns flabbergasted. They got the contributions from their stars and role players that they needed. There's a lot of headwind now for a team that many left behind because they assumed the Wolves couldn't play differently than they did in their 0-3 regular season performance against Phoenix.

The Suns will play better, too. But most especially, Durant's stat line proves they won't be able to survive with Durant just having a big scoring night. The Wolves will live with it. They proved that in Game 1.

This series may be about Booker vs. Edwards.

Booker has been the best player on a Finals team and has more playoff success than Edwards. But Booker also has spectacular flameouts in the past two postseasons, which Edwards doesn't have.

More than anything, Game 1 felt like Edwards recognizing an opportunity. This series can be about Booker vs. Edwards, and Edwards is willing to fight and scrap over it. He'll scrap and tear for ownership of the bone with Booker in a battle of dogs.

Edwards has an opportunity to transcend from All-Star on a great team to one of the real monsters teams have to deal with in the postseason. But he'll have to do this not just in Game 1, but multiple times in this series. (The Wolves can probably win one game with their elite defense and adjustments.)

Everyone entered this series asking what in the world the Wolves were going to do in this matchup given how it had gone in the regular season. However, everyone left Game 1 wondering what the Suns are going to do about Anthony Edwards.

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May 26, 2024 UTC