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PHOENIX – As a rookie, Anthony Edwards took the floor in Phoenix against the team that would end up representing the Western Conference in the finals that season. Edwards scored a career-high 42 points in a Wolves victory, and that game felt like it was Edwards officially putting the NBA on notice. He was coming.

On that same floor, Edwards showed just how far he has come in a little over three years with a systematic dismantling of the Suns in a 126-109 victory that put the Wolves up 3-0 in this playoff series. They are now in prime position to advance in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

In Game 1, Edwards dazzled with his shotmaking. In Game 2, he struggled to score, but his teammates and coach Chris Finch lauded his playmaking. In Game 3, it all came together.

"He's a smart player he just has had a lot to learn and he's learned it a lot," Finch said. "He's benefiting and we're really benefiting."

Game 4 is Sunday night at Footprint Center with a bleak outlook for the Suns. No NBA team has ever won a playoff series after losing the first three games.

Edwards finished with 36 points on 12-for-23 shooting, along with nine rebounds and five assists. He went 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, which he got to frequently in the fourth quarter to stave off a last-ditch run from the Suns, who again looked demoralized and clueless how to beat these Wolves. But Edwards wouldn't go that far.

"We don't think we broke their spirit until we win Game 4," Edwards said. "We gotta win Game 4 and then we can say we broke their spirit. You never know man, a lot of crazy things happen."

Just like those first two games, the Wolves turned a close game at halftime into a rout, this time in a 36-20 third quarter. Jaden McDaniels picked up his fourth foul with the Wolves up 63-57 with 8 minutes, 46 seconds to play.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker checked in, and the bench player who's making around just $4.3 million was again one of the most valuable Wolves on the floor. The game turned with Alexander-Walker on the floor, and he was in perfect position to take advantage of the extra attention Phoenix was giving Edwards defensively.

After not hitting a shot in the first half, Alexander-Walker hit four threes in the third quarter as the Wolves outscored Phoenix 32-16 in his minutes in the third. He finished with 16 points and five assists.

"I knew Ant was going to continue to make the right plays, because he's been doing that all series," Alexander-Walker said. "He trusts me. I think the cool thing about it is none of those shots really go in tonight without the trust of my teammates. To have that feeling, it's a really good one."

Edwards let Alexander-Walker know his shot was as smooth as "butter" in the locker room after the game, and Alexander-Walker's outburst he Phoenix on its heels and the crowd booing.

Then Edwards finished them in the fourth. He again moved the ball when Phoenix came with a double team, and he attacked when the Suns didn't bring the extra help. He hunted mismatches and got to the free-throw line eight times in the fourth. Edwards credited his teammates with helping him identify open spots on the floor and the film work he did with assistant coach Chris Hines.

BOXSCORE: Wolves 126, Phoenix 109

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"Last year and early this year, they were putting two guys on him, and he didn't really like that," said Rudy Gobert, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds. "I feel like over the course of the year, he started to realize and embrace the fact that when they put two on you, it's the highest form of respect. He has teammates that can knock down shots, that can finish at the rim and he's put the work in."

The same goes for the Wolves defense, which wasn't quite as sharp as it was in the first two games. Several players danced around foul trouble all night, but the Wolves still held Phoenix to 41 points in the middle two quarters. That enabled their offense to pull away.

"It's tough to guard [Edwards]," said Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds. "Especially when he's also making his teammates better, it's really, really tough to plan for him."

The Wolves are now in perfect position to go where no team has gone in 20 years. Finch was in no mood to discuss the woeful history that came before them. This is its own Wolves team trying to embrace its own identity, with Edwards at the head of the snake.

"I don't care what happened beforehand," Finch said. "But the reality is that we have a bunch of guys who love playing together, play the right way, they're young, they let me coach them hard, and it's been fun.

"... Long way to go for us, but yeah, we don't really care what happened before because it doesn't relate to any of us."