Anthony Edwards believes Minnesota Timberwolves can rally from 3-0 deficit

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards turned to veteran teammates Mike Conley, Kyle Anderson and Karl-Anthony Towns – and anyone else within earshot in their locker room – and voiced a sincere will to fight in the Western Conference finals.

“Welp, we here now fellas. What are we going to do? We’re here now KAT. What are we going to do?” Edwards stated loudly in a pep talk in the Timberwolves locker room on Sunday night after losing to the Dallas Mavericks 116-107 in Game 3 at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks now own a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and are one victory away from the NBA Finals. No team in NBA playoff history has ever won a series after being down 3-0. The Mavericks will host a potential series-clinching Game 4 on Tuesday.

Adding to injury-plagued Dallas’ motivation to win now is earning a week off of much-needed rest before Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 6. Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving is also an NBA record 14-0 in closeout games in his postseason career.

So, Edwards and the Timberwolves are hanging on to threads of hope.

Edwards considers his team has the ability to defeat a beatable team in what would be a historic four-consecutive wins.

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“I’m just never negative. I always look at it on the positive side,” Edwards said after logging 24 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes in Game 3. “We was 104-104 with three minutes to go. We got the shots that we wanted. We’ve just been missing, man. We can’t beat a team if we not making the shots.”

Edwards’ high-flying Jordanesque dunk on Mavericks center Daniel Gafford in the third quarter of Game 3 might have gone down as one of the greatest in NBA playoff history if the Timberwolves won. But Edwards is averaging 22 points on 38.6% shooting from the field and has missed 14-of-21 3-point shots in three playoff games versus Dallas.

After shooting 44% on shots off the dribble in the first two playoff rounds, Edwards is shooting just 29% on those shots in the Western Conference finals, per ESPN Stats & Info. Towns is shooting 27.8% from the field in this series, tied for the fourth-worst field goal percentage through the first three games of the conference finals in the Shot Clock Era.

Mavericks stars Irving and Luka Doncic each scored 33 points in Game 3 and have entered the conversation for the greatest offensive NBA backcourt ever.

The hot shooting Mavericks are scoring at will on alley-oops and are shooting 71% from the field with Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert, the 2024 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, as the primary defender.

Despite the grim statistical reality, Edwards offered a smile and, in search of answers, engaged in an honest discussion with his teammates after the match. Conley stated Edwards and several other teammates offered constructive criticism and encouragement to each other. Edwards also tried to lift the spirits of dejected guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who scored three points in 20 minutes. And after the postgame press conference, Edwards tried to fire up Towns by telling him the media was asking about his shooting struggles.

“He’s a guy that not only is trying to get guys going, keeping guys positive, but he’ll be on himself, be the first one to say he didn’t have it or didn’t bring it or didn’t should have this better, that better,” Conley said of Edwards. “So, he’s holding himself accountable. It’s something all of us can look up to and look at ourselves in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable. To have him do that at 22 years old is impressive. We wouldn’t be in this position right now without that kind of guy.”

As Edwards walked toward the Timberwolves bus, he told Andscape that he didn’t feel pressure, that he had overcome more challenging odds growing up in the Atlanta area and dealing with family tragedies before making the NBA. The 2024 All-NBA second-team selection added he has had extreme faith in himself since his Little League Baseball days.

“I never think the sky is falling. I don’t know. I’m always positive, always happy. Been through the work so the sky’s never falling for me,” Edwards said.

A 17-year NBA veteran, Conley, 36, has never been to the NBA Finals and realizes this could be his last chance. While the odds are stacked against the Timberwolves, Conley admitted intrigue in Edwards’ vision for what would be the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history.

The way Conley sees it, Edwards has Superman ability, and anything is possible if the budding star who has been compared to Michael Jordan finally finds his cape.

“He might not feel pressure because he doesn’t truthfully understand the gravity of it,” Conley told Andscape. “I say that all the time, it’s an ignorance to the youth that we have. I might be the only one that really feels it. I’m 36, haven’t been here often. So, for him it’s like, ‘This is fun…’ He’s not pressing the same way that I might be pressing, but that is also what makes him him.

“He can just go out here and be himself and not feel too much of that. Ant-Man is going to play well. He just has to. We need him to be Superman, man.”

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