Edwards Leads Timberwolves Over Suns, Knicks And Cavs Win NBA Playoff Openers


Edwards leads Timberwolves over Suns, Knicks and Cavs win NBA playoff openers

Los Angeles, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 21st Apr, 2024) Anthony Edwards scored 23 of his 33 points in the second half as the Minnesota Timberwolves thrashed Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns 120-95 in their NBA playoffs opener on Saturday.

Edwards, who had averaged 14 points in the Timberwolves' three regular-season losses against Phoenix, finally solved the Suns to help Minnesota take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.

It was one of four games on Saturday's slate, with the New York Knicks beating the Philadelphia 76ers 111-104 at Madison Square Garden and the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Orlando Magic 97-83.

In the nightcap, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Denver to open their grudge series against the reigning champion Nuggets -- who swept them in the Western Conference finals last year on the way to the franchise's first NBA title and won all three meetings in the regular season.

Against a team that also had their number in the regular season, Minnesota's Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert -- bolstered by a strong supporting cast -- turned the tables.

Towns scored 19 points, Gobert added 14 points and 16 rebounds and the Timberwolves reserves -- led by 18 points from Nickeil Alexander-Walker -- out-scored the Suns bench 41-18.

Up by 10 at halftime, the Timberwolves took full control in the third quarter, Edwards scoring 18 points and taking the opportunity to needle Durant.

"I think everybody here knows that's my favorite player of all time," Edwards said of two-time NBA champ Durant. "That was probably one of the best feelings ever in my whole life, for sure."

Durant finished with 31 points and seven rebounds. Devin Booker added 18 and Bradley Beal 15, but the Suns couldn't find a way through the Timberwolves' stifling defense keyed by Gobert.

The Timberwolves out-rebounded Phoenix 52-28 and had 20 second-chance points to the Suns' six. They led by as many as 27 to the delight of a raucous crowd at Target Center, where the T'wolves will host game two on Tuesday.

- Just one game -

"It's just one game" Edwards said. "They're going to be ready the next time we play them."

In New York, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart scored 22 points apiece for the Knicks and Miles McBride came up big off the bench with 21 -- 13 of them in the second quarter.

The 76ers got a jolt shortly before halftime when NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid came down from a highlight reel dunk and appeared to hurt his surgically repaired left knee.

He returned for the third quarter and helped the Sixers rally from a 12-point halftime deficit. Philadelphia led by three with 3:38 left in the third after Embiid came up with a steal and fed Kelly Oubre Jr. for a dunk.

The Sixers led 82-79 going into the fourth but couldn't stay in front. With less than two minutes remaining Hart drilled a pair of three-pointers and OG Anunoby made another to help the Knicks seal it.

The Knicks host game two on Monday, with the Sixers breathing a sigh of relief that Embiid, who finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists, apparently will be ready as they try to even the series.

"Just like after every game we'll assess him and see how he's doing," Sixers coach Nick Nurse said.

Tyrese Maxey led Philadelphia's scoring with 33 points.

In Cleveland, Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points and Jarrett Allen added 16 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers in a wire-to-wire victory that Allen hoped would set the tone for their Eastern Conference series.

"We keep saying 'throw the first punch,'" Allen said in an on-court postgame interview. "I think it was the perfect example tonight."

Evan Mobley also scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Cavs.

Orlando's Paolo Banchero scored 24 points but had nine of the Magic's 12 turnovers.