And having the always intense Patrick Beverley sure didn’t hurt, as the T-Wolves held off the visiting Clippers by a 109-104 count in the play-in tournament on Tuesday. The Timberwolves advance to face the Grizzlies in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Edwards erupted for 30 points and Russell went for 29, both lifting the Timberwolves as Towns struggled through a tough night.
“The game had to go in a different direction,” coach Chris Finch said. “That’s why you have a team, because a lot of other people step up.”
Towns scored 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting and fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. But everyone deserves an off night. When that happens, someone else needs to carry the load. Edwards and Russell were among those who did that for Minnesota.
“I took what the game gave me. That’s what they gave me.” Edwards said. “They were scared to guard me, and I took advantage of that.”
Meanwhile, Beverley offered his typical defensive lift, and even broke down in tears of joy after the win. The Clippers, of course, are Beverley’s former team, and last year, that team reached the West finals.
This year’s Clippers will have a little bit more work to do, but will get another chance Friday, when they take part in a second play-in game, either against the Pelicans or Spurs. If the Clippers win their next game, they will be the eighth seed in the playoffs. A loss means the season is over.
“They played a lot better without KAT on the floor,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said of the Timberwolves. “They got into us defensively. They switched on a lot more stuff. I just didn’t think we made the right plays.”