Anthony Edwards Weird About Missed Free Throws and Refs Following Wolves Loss vs OKC

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost a wire-to-wire nail-biter against one of the other top teams in the NBA on Saturday night. Yup, the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled into Target Center and forced a rare home L on the Wolves.

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Losing sucks, but during the course of an 82-game season, losses are going to happen, especially when your team starts slow, turns the ball over 21 times and misses clutch free throws at the end of the game, like the Wolves did last night. Play better next time, right?

Anthony Edwards unconcerned with late-game free throw choke?

Usually, that would be the attitude. But what has me feeling a bit perturbed this morning didn’t happen on the basketball court. It came from inside the bowels of Target Center after the game, at Anthony Edwards’ locker.

The Wolves blossoming superstar was asked about the three clutch free throws he missed at the end of the game. OKC had just gone up 100-97, with 6.1 seconds remaining in the game. Ant got the in-bound, raced down the court and was inexplicably fouled, as he shot a fade away three-pointer from the left break, with 3.1 seconds left on the clock.

So, after the NBA world had been raving about him for the last 48 hours, Edwards stepped to the line where he proceeded to miss free throw number one… and then free throw number two… before purposely missing the final one. 0-for-3 in one of the most clutch moments of the season, so far. Not great, Bob.

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But look, shit happens. We only remember the big shots that MJ made, not the countless number of times he missed in those clutch moments that have been lost to basketball history. Anthony Edwards will bounce back from one of the more embarrassing moments of his young NBA career.

But it was his postgame interview in front of his locker afterwards that was way more concerning than the missed free throws, themselves. When asked about the misses, Anthony Edwards was not himself. In a nutshell, his answer was, ‘you make some and you miss some’…

Umm, no Ant, that’s not how it works. Single-handedly, you had an opportunity to hit three clutch free throws that probably would have pulled your team into overtime in a prove-it matchup against another top team in your conference and instead of rising to the occasion, you shrunk. You choked.

Anybody who has competed in anything has been there. It’s not a fun feeling, especially when it means letting teammates down. Obviously, I didn’t expect Ant to go into any sort of deep depression over missing a few late-game free throws with the game on the line.

But I did expected honesty about how he was feeling in that moment and what he thinks caused the misses. Instead, we got a cringy non-answer that pretty much confirms what we thought. He started thinking about the moment, his knees got a little shaky and the basket started looking small.

Anthony Edwards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

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I understand that most pro athletes aren’t going to admit they choked, in that situation and that’s not the only response that would have satisfied me. But it’s important to note that Anthony Edwards isn’t like most superstars, or professional athletes. Part of his “it factor” is his incredible ability to be open and honest, even if it might not make him look good.

For example, he told TNT just a couple of nights ago that he was sleepwalking during the entire first half vs Memphis, before Kyle Anderson had to snap him out of it at halftime. He’s also taken heat for his eating habits. Why?

Because he held up a postgame press conference on time because he was ordering a McDonalds postgame buffet for his hotel room. No matter the situation, good or bad, we can almost always expect Anthony Edwards to be the most “real” athlete to come through Minnesota since Randy Moss.

But instead of the honesty and realness that we’ve become accustomed to with Anthony Edwards, we got a very Karl-Anthony Towns type response to the free throw question. Weird and cringy. Stephen A. Smith just dubbed you the next Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant but you’re telling me you don’t care about missing three of the most clutch free throws you’ve ever stepped to the line for. Come on…

Anthony Edwards blames the refs

But Edwards wasn’t done making weird statements at his locker, after that. Moments later, he was asked about how you best slow down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, an MVP candidate who just went for 33 points and 6 assists against you. Ant’s response – blame the refs: “It’s hard to man, with the calls that Shai gets…”

I understand that this is how Edwards probably felt during a lot of this game. Shai does get a lot of calls, especially for a young star who hasn’t necessarily “earned” superstar treatment from the refs yet. And I’m sure Ant wants some more of those calls too.

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But the refs were not why the Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. They lost because they turned the ball over way too many times and they couldn’t hit any shots in the 1st quarter. Then, they blew a late lead and Ant missed three free throws that could have sent it to OT.

So I’m not sure what crawled up Anthony Edwards’ ass last night or who is rubbing off on him that he gave this interview. But I hope I never see this side of him again.

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