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With 78 games gone and only three remaining, the NBA Western Conference still has first place and a No. 1 playoff seeding at stake when the Timberwolves play at Denver on Wednesday.

The two teams are tied with 55-24 records, but the Wolves have the tiebreaker edge if it comes to that by the time Sunday's regular-season finale against Phoenix at Target Center is over. Tip-off is at 9 p.m. on BSN and ESPN.

Oklahoma City is in pursuit for the top seed as well; the Thunder are a game behind both the Nuggets and Wolves.

"Everyone knows what is at stake," Wolves All-Star Anthony Edwards said. "I don't even need to talk about how big it is. Everybody knows."

Wolves coach Chris Finch took Edwards aside recently and emphasized the importance of winning games against a teams such as struggling as Washington, which had lost six of its last seven games.

Edwards and the Wolves beat the Wizards 130-121 victory on Tuesday night at Target Center, but it came only after the Wolves trailed by 21 points in the first quarter's final minute. Edwards scored a career-high 51 points, joining five other Timberwolves who have scored 50 or more. They are Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Love, Mo Williams, Corey Brewer and Derrick Rose. Towns has done it three times and two were in the 60s.

On Tuesday, he went 17-for-29 from the field, 6-for-13 on three-point attempts, 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. He also had seven assists and six rebounds in a performance Finch praised for getting his points in the game's flow without forcing shots.

"I'm tired of him telling me to take them seriously," Edwards said. "At some point I have to do it myself. I thank him, man. He put me in the office and said, `Look, man, we've got this Washington game and we need to win it. You need to come ready to play and you can't treat it like any other games.' So I appreciate it, for sure."

Now only three regular-season games remain: at Denver on Wednesday, Atlanta on Friday and Phoenix on Sunday at home.

The top two seeded teams among the Wolves, Nuggets and Thunder will meet winners of play-in games among the 7th through 10th seeded teams.

"It sets the tone for us and with the race to first place, the competition speaks for itself," Wolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker said about Wednesday's game at Denver. "The tiebreaker between us determines who gets home court, things that go into the goal of what we're trying to achieve."