The Minnesota Timberwolves began the 2021-22 season 2-0 behind the strong play of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell. They defeated the Houston Rockets on opening night and the New Orleans Pelicans three days later. All signs pointed toward a 3-0 start since the Pelicans were once again the Timberwolves’ opponent in the third game.
However, Minnesota lost to New Orleans at home by a final score of 107-98, and Edwards wasn’t happy at all.
Anthony Edwards: “We got to wake up”
Despite getting 32 points and 14 rebounds from Towns and 28 points and nine rebounds from Edwards, the Timberwolves couldn’t defeat the Pelicans at the Target Center. After the loss, Edwards delivered a blunt message to the media.
“Wake-up call for sure,” Edwards said, via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “Lock in. Lock the f*** in. Everybody coming in here thinking it’s sweet playing the Pelicans. Whooped our a**. Now our back’s on the wall again. We got to wake up.”
The Timberwolves gave up 107 points to a Pelicans team that was 0-2. They only shot 34.4% from the field and committed 11 turnovers, with five of them coming from Edwards. The shooting guard also shot poorly from the floor, going 10-of-23.
Towns, Russell, and Edwards are the three best players on the Timberwolves. They combined for 69 points versus the Pelicans on just 23-of-61 shooting from the field. The only other player on the Timberwolves to take more than six shots was Malik Beasley, who went 1-of-8.
While Minnesota will only reach the playoffs if its Big Three plays at a high level every night, Edwards believes he, Towns, and Russell have to be more unselfish moving forward.
Anthony Edwards on him, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell: “We got to be willing to pass the ball”
Edwards thinks he, Towns, and Russell have to play less hero ball and pass the ball more since their teammates are doing the dirty work and deserve some shine.
“We take all the shots. We gotta be willing to lead and speak up and correct each other when we wrong. We think we the only ones on the team,” Edwards said. “We got to be willing to pass the ball. There’s no ‘I’ in team. We can’t beat five people with three people. We beat five people with five people. We got to be willing to play with our teammates. One of us got the ball in our hands; me, KAT, or D-Lo got the ball, and we can shoot it at any given time. We’ve got to make them feel love. They play defense. They rebound. They’re doing all the little things that we’re not doing. So if we’re not giving them the ball, then what are we doing?”
It’s admirable that Edwards is trying to be a team leader despite only being a second-year player. The Georgia product is clearly upset that the Timberwolves took a step back in their third game after playing well in Games 1 and 2.
Part of being a leader is holding yourself accountable, and Edwards did precisely that after the Pelicans loss.
Ant-Man: “I wasn’t here in the beginning of the game”
Edwards scored two points and missed all six of his field goals in the first half as the Timberwolves fell behind by 11 points. The 20-year-old said he has to get off to better starts.
“I wasn’t here in the beginning of the game,” Edwards said. “I don’t know why, but I learn from it. And we grow. Same thing with KAT and D-Lo. We all gotta be on the same page. If me and KAT come to play and D-Lo don’t come to play, we’re not gonna win the game. If D-Lo and KAT come to play and I don’t come to play, we not gonna win. All three of us gotta come to play every game 110 percent, and we gotta be willing to share the ball.”
The Timberwolves will look to get back on track in their fourth game against the Milwaukee Bucks. It won’t be an easy task, though, since the Bucks are the reigning champions.