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Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell drive the Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS — Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell came through with a steady stream of hitch marks. Patrick Beverley provided the intensity in an emotional triumph over his former team.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have proven they belong in the playoffs, and this rare air for this franchise is exactly what they’re headed for.

Edwards and Russell combined for 59 points to help the Timberwolves weather a tough night for Karl-Anthony Towns and beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-104 in a play-in game Tuesday night.

“The game had to go in a different direction,” said coach Chris Finch. “That’s why you have a team, because a lot of other people are moving up.”

Edwards scored 30 points with five 3-pointers and Russell had 29 points and six assists to send Wolves ranked 7th in the Western Conference and a first-round matchup against Memphis.

“We just use what we have,” Russell said. “We have many parts that complement each other.”

Anthony Edwards, who scored 30 points, shot in the Timberwolves' 109-104 win over the Clippers.
Anthony Edwards, who scored 30 points, shot in the Timberwolves’ 109-104 win over the Clippers.
NBAE via Getty Images

Paul George finished with 34 points after shooting 2 for 10 in the first half for the Clippers, who have a second chance to make the playoffs with a home game Friday for the No. 8 seed against New Orleans or San Antonio .

Reggie Jackson (17 points) and Norman Powell (16 points) played their part at times, but the Clippers failed to create enough distance as the Timberwolves stuttered for most of the first half.

Towns had just 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting and was fouled midway through the fourth quarter, but his pals were more than up to the challenge.

“I took what the game gave me. That’s what they gave me. They were afraid to guard me and I took advantage of that,” Edwards said.

Jackson’s 3-pointer gave the Clippers their biggest lead of the game at 93-83 with 8:54 remaining, but about 4 minutes later Russell knocked down the green 3-pointer for a 97-95 advantage the Wolves never gave up. He saluted the crowd for the punctuation.

Edwards followed with a tomahawk dunk after being blown by Powell at the top of the button.

“I’m one of the best defenders in the world and nobody can protect him,” said Beverley, who burst into tears during the lively celebration afterwards as Edwards hopped onto the scorer’s table.

Fans were on fire for this fast-paced, rapidly improving team heading into the playoffs for the second time in 17 years, but the excitement died down a bit in the third quarter as George found his groove on a smooth 15 points.

Then Towns fouled with 7:34 to go, less than 2 minutes after he’d just checked back in.

“They played a lot better on the floor without the KAT,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “They entered us defensively. They turned on a lot more stuff. I just didn’t think we made the right moves.”

The Clippers had success disrupting Towns during the regular season, winning three of the four matchups and losing only in January when George was out, and they spared no energy to attack the two-time All-Star center from all sides. Nicolas Batum was his main tormentor, but most of the Clippers were involved.

Towns failed to make a basket in the first half for the first time in more than three years, a 0-on-7 clunker. His only points came from two free throws, and he flashed a sarcastic smile and pumped his first after receiving that call.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/anthony-edwards-dangelo-russell-propel-timberwolves/ Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell drive the Timberwolves

JOE HERNANDEZ

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