PORTLAND – However you could score in a basketball game, whatever combinations of points you could get and from different spots on the floor, Anthony Edwards did that in the fourth quarter of the Timberwolves' 109-107 win over Portland on Tuesday.
A three-point play? Tradition three? A four-point play? Easy layup? Mid-range jumper? Edwards hit them all as he helped drag a sluggish Wolves team across the finish line for its fourth victory in its last five games.
Edwards scored 40 points, the fourth time he has done that in his young career, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter.
What does it feel like when he gets rolling like that? The always entertaining Edwards had a response queued up.
"Feel like Black Jesus," Edwards said.
As Edwards said that, D'Angelo Russell was sitting next to him as they gave their postgame remarks together. Both chuckled.
"I'm going to sit back for this one," Russell said.
Wolves fans who stayed up for the late start got a treat from Edwards, who was 14 of 27 from the field and made 5 of his 13 three-point attempts. His outburst in the fourth helped turn a 90-87 Trail Blazers lead with 8 minutes, 4 seconds to play into a 106-97 Wolves lead with 3:06 to play.
"I saw the man in front of me and I saw fear in his eyes, I guess," Edwards said. "That was all she wrote."
Well, not quite. The Wolves gave away that lead Edwards helped them build, and Portland tied it on a three from C.J. McCollum (15 points) with 10.2 seconds remaining. Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 17 points on just seven shot attempts, said the last play was for him, but Portland was playing him and Edwards so hard that it left a lane open for Russell (22 points) to drive. He got to the rim, where Anfernee Simons committed goaltending to give the Wolves the win with 2.9 seconds remaining. Simons missed a potential winning three at the other end.
"I was kind of the only one open," Russell said. "Felt comfortable in that position for sure. Worked out for us."
Edwards gave the Wolves fans an injury scare for the second time in as many games when he hobbled off during the fourth quarter clutching his left calf, but he said after the game it was just a cramp.
"Nothing major," Edwards said.
Within a few moments, Edwards was back in the game, hitting a jumper and having fun with the Portland crowd.
"Once you see everybody struggling, it's like something's got to give," Edwards said. "I don't even think we were struggling. We were just missing shots and our defense just wasn't there in the beginning of the game."
The Wolves trailed most of the first half and third quarter before making a run to take an 84-82 lead going into the fourth. The Wolves got Jusuf Nurkic (20 points) in foul trouble and chipped away at Portland's lead until Edwards helped them zoom by. While Edwards was putting on a show, Towns was doing more of the dirty work with a season-high 17 rebounds and defense that drew praise from coach Chris Finch.
"You see Ant, Lo and them had it going," Towns said. "Didn't seem like a game for me to be shooting the ball. I was trying to do everything I can elsewhere."
That allowed Edwards to shine as bright as he could, and in true Edwards fashion, he wasn't afraid to let everyone know what he thinks can do on the floor.
"I was a runner up rookie of the year, so that's cool," Edwards said. "But I'm going for MVP next year, for sure."