5 takeaways from Timberwolves' series-opening victory over Grizzlies

MEMPHIS — Five takeaways from the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 130-117 victory over the Grizzlies Saturday at FedEx Forum in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series:

There were a couple of lists waiting for Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards, onto either of which he could have scribbled his name.

1. Anthony Edwards was ready for his close-up

There was this one: Kevin Garnett, 21 points and an L; Stephon Marbury, 28 and an L; Tom Gugliotta, 11 and an L; Andrew Wiggins, 18 and an L; and Karl-Anthony Towns, 8 and an L.

That’s a list of young Wolves across franchise history and how they did in their playoff debuts. Some scored well, all lost.

(You don’t see Christian Laettner, Isaiah Rider, Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio on that list because they never reached the playoffs with Minnesota.)

With 36 points in the first postseason game of his young career, the No.1 overall pick in the 2020

NBA Draft scored 36 points to pull into a four-way, fourth-place tie with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Derrick Rose and er, Gary Brokaw for most points in one’s first career playoff game.

“Just trusting myself,” said Edwards, who hit almost 44% of his 3-pointers against Memphis in the regular season. “I know my shots.”

Jackson, the Grizzlies’ aggressive, fourth-year big man, led the NBA with 2.3 blocks per game and will show up in the balloting results for Defensive Player of the Year. 

2. Jaren Jackson Jr. needs to stay in his lane

Heckuva lot of good that does him or the Grizzlies if Jackson is picking up needless fouls on offense.

His fifth came when he banged into Minnesota’s Taurean Prince 38 seconds into the fourth.

Both coaches used their challenges, both used them earlier than you’d expect – especially in a playoff game – and both were unsuccessful. 

3. Keep those challenges dry, please

But Memphis could have used an appeal deeper into the quarter when Malik Beasley stepped out of bounds without a whistle and set up a Wolves basket.

But Memphis could have used an appeal deeper into the quarter when Malik Beasley stepped out of bounds without a whistle and set up a Wolves basket.

The Minnesota center had a nightmare Play-In performance Tuesday, shooting 3-for-11 and fouling out in a mere 24 minutes broken up by long absences on the bench. 

4. Redemption for Towns, but will it last?

But that guy was gone against Memphis.

Home-court advantage in the series went poof! for Memphis in a matter of hours.

5. Expect a more raucous crowd in Game 2

The Grizzlies had the ball in a one-possession game just once near the start of the fourth.

The Grizzlies had the ball in a one-possession game just once near the start of the fourth.