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The Timberwolves played their starting group together for 14 minutes Saturday in their 120-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

In those 14 minutes, the longest any group of five players shared the floor together for the Wolves, the starters were minus-8.

The Wolves outscored the Suns by 33 points in the other 34 minutes with all other combinations they deployed Saturday.

The starting group's 14 minutes are in line with how much the starters typically played together in the regular season (14.2 minutes per game), but some starters ended up not playing their usual complement of minutes overall in Game 1.

Mike Conley played 27:24. Karl-Anthony Towns clocked 26:36. Coming in fourth in playing time for the Wolves behind Jaden McDaniels, Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards was Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who changed the game each time he entered and finished as a plus-28. Naz Reid, who played 19:17, was a plus-22, while Conley and Towns had negative plus-minuses (minus-8 and minus-2, respectively).

Aside from sixth man Royce O'Neale's 14 points, Phoenix got only four points from its reserves.

Reading into one-game plus-minus statistics is a fool's errand — almost anybody could have been on the floor during Edwards' late third-quarter spurt and improved that statistic thanks to him — but the numbers and the playing time hint at something coach Chris Finch referenced in his postgame remarks.

"We come in with an open mind every night, and we just wanted to make sure that our guys understood that we were going to do what we needed to do to navigate the game when it came to rotations," Finch said.

A look at the Game 1 boxscore

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In other words, if a starter isn't playing well, it sounds as if Finch will have a quicker trigger and put him on the bench for longer stretches of time than the player might be accustomed to during the regular season. This applied to Game 1, even without Kyle Anderson, who exited early in the second quarter because of a hip pointer.

It was easy to see the Wolves were a better team any time Alexander-Walker was on the floor in Game 1. The defensive flexibility he provides, especially when sharing the floor with McDaniels and Edwards, can be the key for the Wolves in this series. Perhaps it was no surprise that Alexander-Walker, McDaniels and Edwards were a plus-25 in nearly 15 minutes together in Game 1, the best of any Wolves three-man combination.

They were on the floor together as the Wolves held Phoenix without a field goal for more than seven minutes to close the third quarter.

Towns was an important player to help the Wolves get through the first half, especially with his ability to get to the free-throw line. But the Wolves became a better team in the second half when Towns sat for Reid in the third quarter and Reid's presence helped Edwards get going on offense. Reid can run the floor better and is a quicker decisionmaker than Towns, which can help elevate Edwards' game when the ball doesn't stop moving and Edwards can get out and run easier.

The Wolves were better versions of themselves when either Alexander-Walker, Reid or both were in the mix Saturday as opposed to the five regular starters.

"Everyone is just stepping up in whatever that role is," Alexander-Walker said. "If we continue to have the mindset of putting the team first, and being prepared to play, studying film, knowing our roles, then if something is to happen, God forbid, or if we need to make an adjustment, everyone is prepared to do so. Because everyone has been humble and willing to make the right adjustments."

Finch saw that and adjusted his minutes accordingly. This isn't to suggest the Wolves will change their starting lineup for Game 2, as Conley can't play much worse than he did Saturday. But once Finch starts mixing in his bench, which is deeper than Phoenix's, he seems more likely than ever before to roll with who's clicking that particular night and not coddling egos to give players their usual time.

"I'm sure they're going to be making adjustments, as are we," Finch said. "It's about that right now."