Chip Scoggins
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Anthony Edwards caught a pass at the top of the key with a clear path to the basket, which is the basketball equivalent of giving a 10-year-old free run in a candy store.

Start your engines.Vroom.

Edwards had one intention only, and the outcome was his first highlight of the 2021-22 season. One dribble and then soar, his head just below rim level on a thunderous slam dunk that brought the Target Center to full roar.

Edwards added a primal scream once he landed back on the floor.

His teammates felt the surge, too.

"It boosts the morale of the team, and the energy goes up," Karl-Anthony Towns said.

Are you ready for the Ant Show?

Edwards vowed to be a better, more well-rounded player in his second NBA season, and the first impression Wednesday night more than hit that mark.

Edwards showed off his improved shooting touch to go along with leap-tall-buildings athleticism as the Timberwolves gave their fans a rollicking good time in a 124-106 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Edwards rode six three-pointers to 29 points in 31 minutes of action — a sweet reward after committing himself this offseason to improving his perimeter shooting.

"I put the work in, like a 9-to-5 every day in the summer," he said. "[Shots] should fall."

It's only one game — one game against a dreadful team that can tank without trying — but Edwards looks primed to build on what he started as a rookie. Still only 20 years old, he already possesses star quality in talent and personality.

Edwards put on a show in the first half with four three-pointers and a poster dunk. His 21 first-half points turned the arena into a house party, not a normal vibe for Target Center.

This is the Edwards effect. He is a lightning bolt. He is electric. Pick your own favorite adjective.

Edwards forces you to pay attention. Don't look away when he's on the floor, because you might miss something thrilling. He dunks as if he's hangry. And then he smiles. Always smiling, like someone just told him a funny joke. His personality matches his talent. He oozes charisma.

He's not short on confidence, either. He motioned to the Rockets bench to call a timeout after he drained back-to-back three-pointers late in the second quarter.

"I was telling the coach to call the timeout," he said. "I'm hot."

His playful nature and explosive game make him a fan favorite. The Wolves are no longer solely Towns' team. This is KAT's and Ant's team now, 1 and 1A.

That's a good thing. Two cornerstone players are better than one.

Edwards made defensive improvement a priority this season, and he looked more engaged on that end against the Rockets. His outside shooting provided a larger splash.

Edwards shot 32.9% from three-point range as a rookie. His numbers improved as the season progressed as he became more comfortable with the NBA game and showed better shot selection.

He took a variety of three-pointers in the opener. He made a pull-up off the dribble. He used a screen to free himself for an open look. He made another one on a step-back.

Twelve of his 21 shot attempts were three-pointers. He made six of them. If he can increase his three-point shooting to 37% or 38% this season, he will make himself even more of a matchup nightmare for defenders.

"In order for the lane to open up, you've got to shoot threes or make them respect the jumper," he said. "For me to get downhill — which I'm very good at — I've got to hit jumpers. That's why I worked on it so much."

The 16,000 fans inside Target Center enjoyed the show. Edwards noted that arenas were "freezing" last season without fans. On Wednesday, the arena felt "hot," which makes sense.

His dunk and energy felt like a blowtorch.