SI:AM | Anthony Edwards Shines As Timberwolves Sweep Suns

Kevin Durant had high praise for the young Minnesota star after an electric 40-point performance. 
Edwards, who dropped 40 points in Game 4 on Sunday, had several jaw-dropping plays as the T-Wolves swept the Suns.
Edwards, who dropped 40 points in Game 4 on Sunday, had several jaw-dropping plays as the T-Wolves swept the Suns. / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. I couldn’t believe how many Knicks fans showed up for Game 4 in Philadelphia. (Neither could Joel Embiid.)

In today’s SI:AM: 

🐜 Ant Man’s superhero moment
🏈 NFL draft takeaways
⛹️‍♀️ A legend retires

He’s a human highlight reel

There is no player more thrilling in the NBA today than Anthony Edwards. To say that he led the Minnesota Timberwolves to their first playoff series victory in 20 years with 40 points on Sunday night to finish off a 4–0 sweep of the Phoenix Suns would be an accurate description of his incredible game. It would also be underselling just how spectacular Edwards was. 

Edwards is always liable to make at least one jaw-dropping play per night, and he had several in Game 4. There was his outrageous block on Devin Booker with just over four minutes left in the game, where he used his unparalleled leaping ability to deny Booker at the rim. 

His best play of the night, though, came a few minutes later, with Minnesota up by two and a little more than two minutes left on the clock. Edwards got the ball on the wing and sized up Bradley Beal. There was no doubt what was going to happen next. Edwards was going to go one-on-one with Beal and try to extend his team’s lead. And indeed, Edwards did score two clutch points—but not on a step-back jumper, or a floater in the lane or any other conservative shot that any other superstar would have taken in that moment. He zipped past Beal and rose into the air for a thunderous dunk right on top of Kevin Durant. 

After the game, Durant had high praise for Edwards. 

“So impressed with Ant. My favorite player to watch, just grown so much since he came into the league,” Durant said. “At 22, his love for the game shines so bright and that’s one of the reasons why I like him the most, because he loves basketball. He’s grateful to be in this position and he’s taken advantage of every opportunity he’s gotten. Love everything about Ant—everything. And I’ll be watching him going forward. I know he’ll go out there and play extremely hard every night. I was really impressed with him and he’s somebody I’m going to be following for the rest of his career.”

Anybody who pays close attention to the NBA knows how great Edwards is, but the audiences are bigger in the postseason and he’s going to have an opportunity to become a household name as the T-Wolves advance in the playoffs. They’re likely to face the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the next round (Denver currently holds a 3–1 series lead over the Los Angeles Lakers) in what promises to be an excellent matchup. 

Regardless of how long the T-Wolves’ playoff run lasts, the next few months are going to be enormous for raising Edwards’s profile. He was named earlier this month to the United States’ roster for this summer’s Olympics in Paris. It’s a tremendous honor for a 22-year-old and a well-deserved one. By the time next season begins, he’ll be a way bigger star than he was at the start of this season. 

The future is bright for Edwards and the Timberwolves, but the same can’t be said for the Suns. Phoenix mortgaged its future to acquire Beal and Durant and all it has to show for it is a first-round series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers last year. The Suns are left with an aging and obviously flawed roster without a clear path to improve it. Durant, Beal and Booker are all under contract for the next two seasons at $50 million per year each. (Beal and Booker’s contracts run even longer.) Without the draft picks that the Suns traded away to acquire Durant and Beal, building a winning roster around those three becomes increasingly difficult. 

Durant will be 36 when next season begins. Beal will be 31. Two other key players—Grayson Allen and Royce O’Neale—are set to become free agents. Years from now, we may come to view Minnesota’s sweep in this series as a torch-passing moment from one generational star to another. 

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5. Rangers rookie Wyatt Langford’s inside-the-park home run for his first career homer. 
4. The mannequin that fell on the track during an IndyCar race. 
3. Kyrie Irving’s incredible layup late in the Mavericks’ loss to the Clippers with three defenders hounding him.
2. This angle of Anthony Edwards’s big dunk that was shot from the stands
1. Brock Boeser’s two empty-net goals for the Canucks to force overtime against the Predators. Nashville’s Colton Sissons clanged a shot on the empty net off the post, opening the door for the comeback. Vancouver went on to win in overtime on Elias Lindholm’s goal to take a 3–1 series lead. 

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Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).