MINNEAPOLIS -- There were so many times Wednesday where it looked as though the Miami Heat were going to pull away from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell were largely no-shows for the first three-plus quarters. Miami was playing well for extended stretches, building leads of seven and eight points on the regular.
But every time the Wolves would be in a seemingly dire situation, its primetime performer would rise to the occasion.
Anthony Edwards backs down from no moment.
The second-year standout delivered in the biggest moment of the season Wednesday at Target Center, finishing with 33 points, 14 rebounds and six assists as Minnesota topped Miami 113-101 for its fifth straight win, with Wednesday’s victory serving easily as the most significant of the bunch.
Target Center was rowdy and raucous Wednesday, just the way Edwards likes it. The house was packed with a pre-Thanksgiving crowd eager to cheer on the Wolves for their recent success and boo Jimmy Butler.
The latter, the most recent villain of this franchise after he forced his way out of Minnesota, heard it from the fans every time he touched the ball. But the pain of Butler’s departure is likely long gone for Wolves fans now that they have their new superstar in Edwards.
Butler may have been the last player to get Minnesota to the playoffs, but Edwards appears to be the next.
In Minnesota’s recent blowout victories, Edwards appeared happy to take a backseat. He took just 21 shots total in dominant wins over Memphis and San Antonio, choosing to let others find their flow.
But Wednesday, with Towns picking up three quick fouls and Patrick Beverley leaving the game in the first quarter with a groin injury, Edwards knew it was his time to carry the load.
And he did so with pleasure.
The crowd showed its appreciation for the young superstar as the final seconds ticked off, showering Edwards with “MVP” chants as he pumped them up.
The future in Minnesota has arrived, and awfully bright.