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It was not the main focus Saturday.

Job 1 was winning. The Timberwolves, ascendant in recent games, wanted to keep that going, on the second half of back-to-back games, against a Sacramento team that came to Target Center third in the NBA's Western Conference.

And they did, with a 117-110 victory in the first of consecutive games against the Kings; the teams meet again Monday.

But it was there, a subtext.

Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox and the Wolves' Anthony Edwards have been mentioned as potential candidates to be named as reserves to the NBA All-Star Game. And while they didn't match up against each other, it was a showcase of the two, who came into the game 19th (Edwards) and 20th in the league in scoring.

And it was entertaining.

Give the edge, Saturday, to Edwards. He hit 14 of 21 shots, made five of seven threes, scored 34 points with 10 rebounds and six assists. He drove and scored. He shot off the pass, hit from midrange and from deep. He led the Wolves, again, when they needed it most. He barely edged out Fox, who scored 21 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Not that he would admit to thinking about that.

"Nope," he said. "I just know my team needs a win so I'm going to go out there and do everything that I can do to help us win. I don't care if he's an All-Star or I am. As long as my team is in the playoffs, I'm good."

The rematch Monday promises to be just as intense.

"It's who he is," Wolves coach Chris Finch said of Edwards. "We saw that in the playoffs last year. We were a little unsure how he would react to those big moments. But that's kind of what fuels him. He loves a big challenge. He's a heck of a young player and he's had, to me, a no-brainer All-Star season right now. I know he wanted to prove that to everybody out there."

Edwards was not a one-man force, though at times he seemed to be. D'Angelo Russell scored 25 points. He was a perfect 8-for-8 and made all seven of his three-point attempts in the first half. Naz Reid scored 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter. Jaden McDaniels (15 points, eight rebounds) and Rudy Gobert (13 points, 14 boards) both had their moments.

But: Edwards.

The Wolves were down three early in the third quarter when he scored 10 points in a 13-2 run that put the Wolves up, it turned out, for good. That run included two three-pointers, one that came right after Fox missed a dunk. Edward scored 16 points in the third, 10 in the fourth. The final touch came after Fox drove for a dunk with 37.9 seconds left, drawing the Kings within four points. With 16.2 seconds left, Edwards hit a step-back three as the announced sellout crowd of 17,136 roared, sealing the game, the victory.

For one night, the battle.

"Right now I feel like I just can't miss," Edwards added. "I put a lot of work in, man. So I'm happy it's showing."

Sacramento coach Mike Brown wasn't happy. "Anthony Edwards, huge game," he said. "A huge game. He's just raising up over us and knocking down shots and shooting threes."

And the team is winning. The Wolves (27-25) won their third straight and for the fifth time in six games. Sacramento (27-21) lost its second in a row. Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 10 boards for Sacramento.

"It's my teammates," Edwards said. "I feel if my game is ascending, they're the reason why. So I give all the praise to them. I can't do anything without them."