Anthony Edwards' Reaction to Nikola Jokic's Masterclass Spells Doom for Timberwolves

Edwards acknowledges Jokic's dominance in crucial playoff game.

by Abdullah Magsi
Anthony Edwards' Reaction to Nikola Jokic's Masterclass Spells Doom for Timberwolves
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals, the Minnesota Timberwolves faced a stark challenge from the reigning champion Denver Nuggets. The Timberwolves, who had initially stunned the basketball world with an early series lead, found themselves grappling with the indomitable play of Nikola Jokic, Denver’s star center.

Anthony Edwards, known affectionately as "Ant-Man," had previously troubled Denver with his dynamic scoring. However, in Tuesday's clash, the Nuggets' defense clamped down, restricting Edwards to a mere 18 points on 15 shots, which included eight trips to the free-throw line.

The defensive strategy, orchestrated by the Nuggets, markedly subdued Edwards' impact, a stark contrast to his earlier performances in the series. Conversely, Jokic delivered a basketball masterclass, rendering Minnesota’s defensive efforts futile.

Known as "The Joker," Jokic dominated the court with a stellar performance, scoring 40 points on an efficient 15-22 shooting, while also contributing 13 assists and seven rebounds. His prowess was such that Rudy Gobert, a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, appeared overwhelmed by Jokic’s skill and finesse.

Edwards Praises Jokic

Postgame, Edwards expressed his sentiments with a mix of humor and admiration. "I just laugh. That’s all I can do. I can’t be mad... He’s the MVP. He’s the best player in the NBA. He showed it in the last three games...

He was special tonight. I have to give him his flowers. He was that guy,” Edwards said, acknowledging Jokic's superiority. The Timberwolves also faced additional challenges as Karl-Anthony Towns, tasked with guarding Jokic, was plagued by foul trouble throughout the game.

Even when Gobert stepped in, Jokic continued to exploit the Timberwolves' defense, either by scoring or setting up his teammates through astute passes and effective screens. Despite a late rally in the fourth quarter, Edwards and the Timberwolves couldn’t close the gap, ultimately falling behind as the Nuggets secured a 112-97 victory.

This win gives Denver a 3-2 series lead, placing immense pressure on Minnesota in the upcoming games. The Timberwolves now stare down a must-win situation to stay alive in the playoffs. Edwards, pivotal to their success, will need to significantly elevate his game to counter the formidable Nuggets.

If Minnesota hopes to extend their playoff journey, they cannot afford another performance like Tuesday’s from their young star. The next game will be crucial, as a defeat would not only end their season but also underscore the Nuggets’ quest to defend their NBA title.

Nikola Jokic Timberwolves