As Anthony Edwards once again turned Target Center into his own personal playground on Monday night, the energy coursing through the crowd made it felt like Edwards was singularly going to bring the Timberwolves back from a 21-point second-half deficit.
With each transition bucket and three-pointer Edwards hit, that belief grew stronger. But it seemed only Edwards held the key to the lid that was on the basket most of the night, and the Wolves made sure that lid was secured by laying brick upon brick on top of it in a 107-98 loss to New Orleans. This marked the second consecutive poor showing by the offense, which shot 34%. That left Edwards ticked.
After the game, Edwards (28 points) had some of his most pointed comments in a postgame media session since joining the Wolves. In particular, Edwards, who was the last person to speak postgame, said he, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell had to do a better job of sharing the ball with their teammates.
"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. Trust our teammates and ... share the ball."
In order for that to happen, Edwards said he was about to get more vocal around the team even though he's still one of the youngest members.
"I don't really talk too much as far as on the court. I let my game lead," Edwards said. "But now I see that I'm gonna start talking more as far as, 'You need to lock in, bruh. Pass the ball. Four people on you, pass the ball,' know what I'm saying?' I'm finna start talking a lot more. It'll be better coming from me?"
Russell could use any kind of motivation to get going. Two days after saying it seemed like he forgot how to play basketball, it didn't seem like Russell's memory reloaded. He shot only 3-for-14 for nine points.
"Every player goes through a slump at some point in the season," coach Chris Finch said. "His just happens to be right now. He's not the only one that's not particularly shooting the ball well. He'll be fine."
Towns overcame early foul trouble to finish with 32, but that set the tone as the Wolves fell behind double digits without him on the floor. Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 23 rebounds for New Orleans and pestered the Wolves with nine offensive boards. The offense staggered without Towns and even when he returned as the Wolves fell behind by 21 in the third quarter. Edwards' third quarter got them closer — they'd get as close as four, but the offense fell limp.
"It's still hard to watch," Finch said. "There's not a lot of rhythm out there. Guys are trying to do too much by themselves, not letting the ball do the work, things we talked about, getting that flow."
That echoed what Edwards was saying afterward, except Edwards was much more blunt in his assessment. He said the offense looked like it should in preseason. Now that the games count, it morphed into something else. According to Edwards, that has to change — quickly.
"Preseason everybody is sharing the ball. Everybody happy," Edwards said. "So when the season starts everything changed. I. I. I. I want to shoot this. I want to shoot that. … Me, KAT and D-Lo got to do a better job of getting them the ball, because Coach draws everything up for us. We've got to do a better job of getting them involved, making them feel wanted in the offense, not just on defense."