Playoffs

NBA playoffs: Anthony Edwards outshines Devin Booker, Kevin Durant to secure Timberwolves sweep of Suns

NBA playoffs: Anthony Edwards outshines Devin Booker, Kevin Durant to secure Timberwolves sweep of Suns

With their season on the line, the Phoenix Suns' stars shone brightest on Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It wasn't enough.

Led by their own All-Stars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves prevailed, 122-116, in a taut Game 4 to secure a 4-0 sweep of the Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs. They overcame 82 combined points from Kevin Durant and Devin Booker to secure the series clincher on the Suns' home court.

The win marks the first playoff series victory for the Timberwolves since Kevin Garnett led them to the Western Conference finals in 2004.

Minnesota closed out the victory without head coach Chris Finch. Finch left the game after a sideline collision with point guard Mike Conley in the final two minutes knocked him to the floor. The Athletic's Shams Charania reported postgame that he's feared to have suffered a torn patellar tendon.

With the win, Minnesota becomes the first team to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The loss delivers a decisive blow to a Suns team that was constructed around Durant and Booker to compete for a championship. Instead, the depth it sacrificed to build a top-heavy roster proved to be its Achilles heel.

The Suns struggled to find production outside its top two players while the younger, more focused Timberwolves performed like playoff veterans.

The Suns didn't exit the postseason without a fight. Sunday's was a back-and-forth battle from the opening tip and saw the lead traded on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter. It was a stark contrast to the first three games that saw the Timbewolves win each by double figures.

Anthony Edwards will play in the second round of the playoffs for the first time. (Joe Camporeale/Reuters)

Ultimately, Minnesota made more plays down the stretch and proved it was built to win in a tightly contested postseason game. Edwards shone again in a 40-point effort while hitting several big shots down the stretch.

His sixth 3-pointer of the game put Minnesota up 105-101 with 5:30 remaining.

His seventh with 4:12 remaining put Minnesota up, 110-107.

He then silenced the Phoenix crowd with a highlight-reel dunk over Durant to put Minnesota up 115-111 with 2:13 left on the clock.

The Timberwolves held off the Suns from there to secure the win.

Edwards scored 31 second-half points after a nine-point first half saw him struggle from the field on a 2-of-8 effort. He finished with 40 points, nine rebounds, six assists, one steal and two blocks en route to the first playoff series victory of his career. He shot 13 of 23 from the field including a 7-of-13 effort from long distance.

Towns had one of his best games of the series with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. He was also strong from deep on a 4-of-6 effort. Jaden McDaniels added 18 points, while Conley tallied 10 points and seven assists.

Booker met Edwards' sensational play with his own. He finished with a game-high 49 points alongside six assists, five rebounds and two steals. He hit 20 of 21 free throws and 3 of 5 shots from long distance, including a transition 3 that put the Suns up 99-95 early in the fourth quarter.

Durant added 33 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks on a 12-of-17 effort from the floor.

But no other Suns player scored in double figures. Bradley Beal scored nine points while shooting 4 of 13 from the floor. Jusuf Nurkić tallied nine points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Suns move on to the offseason with significant questions about their roster construction and whether they can compete for a championship.

The Timberwolves finished the last 1:41 of the game without Finch on the sideline. He was injured on a collision with Conley and had to be helped off the floor to the locker room.

He spent several moments on the court after the collision surrounded by trainers and Timberwolves players. He ultimately limped to the locker room while flanked by two team trainers. The Timberwolves didn't provide an immediate update on his condition.

The Timberwolves advance to face the winner between the Los Angeles Lakers and reigning champion Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets and Lakers play Monday night in Denver with the the Nuggets holding a 3-1 series lead.

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