Timberwolves Suffocate Suns in 2nd Half Again to Take 2-0 Series Lead

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves came into game 2 against the Phoenix Suns expecting a battle. And while it eventually became that, it was the Wolves who punched first, jumping out to an early 10 point lead in the 1st quarter.

But, the Suns fought their way back, as expected, even taking a 10 point lead themselves, at one point in the 2nd quarter. But the 1st half story wasn’t the back and forth of the two teams. Instead, it was about Anthony Edwards’ quiet effectiveness, even without scoring, and his ability to trust his teammates, something that would become a trend as the night wore on.

Suns can’t hang with Minnesota Timberwolves again

In all reality, you could call tonight “the Jaden McDaniels game” (25 points, 8 rebounds) or “the Mike Conley game” (18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals). Either would suffice.

And after Jaden broke his hand prior to last season’s playoff series vs the Denver Nuggets, tonight could play a massive role in pushing McDaniels’ confidence to the next level, something we’ve been waiting on for a year or two.

The Wolves entered halftime down by one point, even with Ant scoring just six points in those first two quarters. But again, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t efficient (+15) and patient. He realized early that his teammates were feeling good and that the Suns’ defense was going to make things tough for him.

So, he found his hot teammates all night long and let them carry it home, finishing with 15 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. And when the Wolves needed a basket a few times when the game was close (or when a random fan in the stands called for him to iso Kevin Durant), Ant became Ant.

But even more than good team offense, tonight’s win was an impressive showing of 2nd half defense and composure, neither of which the Phoenix Suns had in their bag for game 2. By the time the 4th quarter got rolling, this one was over. And when the final buzzer sounded, it was another 10+ point (105-93) Minnesota dub.

Related: What Did Anthony Edwards Say to Kevin Durant in Viral Trash Talking Clip from Game 1?

The problem with playing against the Timberwolves, and I feel like we will see this throughout the playoffs, is that when they decide to clamp down on defense, there’s almost nothing that opponents can do to keep the Wolves Sharks at bay. I mean, what is an offense supposed to do against this?

I know that a series doesn’t technically begin until a road team wins a game, but it’s difficult to watch what unfolded in the first two games and have any belief that the Suns have the firepower needed to hang with the Wolves for four quarters.

But, desperate teams are unpredictable and that’s exactly what Phoenix will be on Friday, when this team meets for game three down in the desert. If Minnesota can find a way to victory, though, a sweep will feel inevitable.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: