Edwards Steals Show As T'wolves Down Durant's Suns In NBA Playoff Opener

Edwards steals show as T'wolves down Durant's Suns in NBA playoff opener

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 Cleveland Cavaliers launching the league's playoff action with a 97-83 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Later the New York Knicks hosted reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden and LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Denver to open their grudge series against the reigning champion Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets swept the Lakers in four games in the Western Conference finals last year on the way to the franchise's first NBA title and won all three of their meetings in this regular season.

In Minneapolis, the Timberwolves were also facing a team that had their number in the regular season, but 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 and 12 from Naz Reid -- out-scored the Suns bench 41-18.

Up by 10 at halftime, the Timberwolves took full control in the third quarter when Edwards, playing in his third playoffs at 22, scored 18.

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.

- Cavs land first blow -

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 and Darius Garland added 14 points with eight assists for the Cavs, who are still smarting from a first-round loss to the New York Knicks last season.

Mitchell, who missed Cleveland's regular-season finale with a nagging knee injury, appeared unhindered in a dominant offensive display.

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

Cleveland coughed up 18 turnovers and went cold in the third quarter as the Magic cut a 12-point halftime deficit to four points.

A pair of baskets from Mitchell sparked an 18-2 scoring run that saw the Cavs push the lead to 20 early in the fourth quarter.

They will try to double their advantage when they host game two on Monday.

Things got testy in the second quarter, with Cleveland reserves Georges Niang and Isaac Okoro both assessed technical fouls -- Niang for crowding into Markelle Fultz after Fultz fouled him on a drive to the basket.

"I loved it," Allen said. "That's what we're all about."