Anthony Edwards lives for the big moments. He shines on the biggest stages and prospers in the moments of pressure when the heart beats.
The star of the second year would lock in and bring in his best playoff time, without needing extra motivation. Yet on Saturday they were the Grizzlies fans who provided it anyway — talking smack in their ear, as they always are.
If you’re wondering why Edwards always does a show in Memphis, you can start there.
“I feel like the Memphis fans ignite my game when I’m playing here,” Edwards said. “They talk a lot of garbage.”
And it’s not coming from the most likely of suspects.
“The kids were the worst,” Edwards said. “Even an 8-year-old, a 10-year-old, (saying) ‘Anthony go sit down! Useless man!’ ,
“The kids were the worst today”
Anthony Edwards says kids were the most trash-talking to him in Game 1 against the Grizzlies pic.twitter.com/rcd1rm5Wse
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 17, 2022
There are players in the league who would be negatively affected by this kind of fan interaction, but it has the opposite effect at best. They eat it, and grow with it.
In four career games in Memphis — which included Saturday’s 36-point performance — Edwards averaged 28.8 points, while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from 3-point range.
So, go ahead and scream whatever you want at age 20. He’ll just smile and probably nod his head before entering his official response: one more dagger three.
“It’s just fun. Basketball is fun for me. I love it,” Edwards said. “I’m coming out to have fun, impressing victories. Whatever the crowd is about to do, it is going to do it. I really wouldn’t get into it.”
The Timberwolves desperately tried to bypass Denver to seed the top six and avoid the play-in tournament. It’s easy to see why. Just look at the Clippers.
After Los Angeles took a double-digit fourth-quarter lead over Minnesota, the Clippers lost to the Pelicans on Friday night to miss the playoff altogether after Paul George – the Los Angeles star forward – missed the game as he had tested positive for COVID-19. ,
Anything can happen in a one-game scenario.
But Chris Finch, coach of the Timberwolves, feels the way he played for Minnesota benefited the team. The Wolves played a playoff-like game against the Clippers on Tuesday, giving them experience and keeping them in the flow of the season.
Finch said, ‘We felt that this kept us in the rhythm that we were preparing for.
Meanwhile, the Memphis debut hadn’t played a game in a week. The No. 2 seed certainly seemed a step slower at various stages of the game, though Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins declined to use that as an excuse for his team’s performance on Saturday.
“The schedule is the schedule. We tried our best to be ready, but it’s been a minute since we played,” Jenkins said. “We have to be ready to go, and we weren’t in the first quarter — and they paid us for it.” Did. So, we just have to do better.”
Play-in winners have experienced early success. The play-in concept was first introduced in the 2020 NBA Bubble in Orlando, and Minnesota on Saturday became the third play-in team to win Game 1 of their subsequent first-round series in six tries.
“I think maybe, again, at this point in the season it’s hard to sit still for a week, it really is,” Finch said. “I think we’ll see a different Memphis… Tuesday.”
Minnesota played Saturday afternoon, with the game ending after 5 p.m. — more than 72 hours ahead of their Game 2 tipoff in Memphis. The setup left the door open for the Timberwolves to actually go back home between games.
Finch has been on the staff of teams that have done so in previous years, but elected to stay in Memphis between Minnesota games.
“It’s a lot of back and forth (and) you lose that bunker mentality that we love,” he said. “No, it was supposed to last about 10 seconds.”