McDaniels steps up with key block, three-pointer in Wolves’ Game 1 victory

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

MEMPHIS – Anthony Edwards came up on the AAU circuit with Jaden McDaniels and Edwards remembers vividly a practice when he was going against McDaniels and McDaniels swatted his shot.

"I went home and told my people, I'm like, 'Breh, that's the first time I ever got my layup blocked,' " Edwards said. "I looked back like, 'Oh, this what I got to start going against.' To see him in a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey along my side is beautiful."

The Wolves were singing McDaniels' praises after their he delivered a dagger of a sequence in their 130-117 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies to open their Western Conference playoff series on Saturday.

With just under two minutes to play, McDaniels stayed with Ja Morant as the Grizzlies star guard went to the hoop and came up with a block, one of three McDaniels had on the day. Then on the next offensive possession, McDaniels drilled a corner three-pointer to put the Wolves ahead 120-111 with 1 minute, 39 seconds to play. His three prompted fans at FedEx Forum to head for Beale Street early.

"Just seeing it go in was a good feeling," McDaniels said.

McDaniels overcame early foul trouble to score 15 points, grab seven rebounds and have some of the biggest defensive plays for the Wolves down the stretch. He made some adjustments, specifically to how he was guarding Morant, who finished with 32.

"Really just kind of playing with my chest, not getting cheap fouls with my hands, little cheap things like pushing off, stuff like that," McDaniels said.

When McDaniels went down because of a left high ankle sprain on March 14, the Wolves didn't know if they would even have him back in time for the playoffs. While he was out, the Wolves had the sixth-worst defensive efficiency in the league.

"I would just say during that time, we were probably kind of tired through the season," McDaniels said. "Now that we're in the playoffs, we all have that energy now. We know that every possession we gotta make it count."

Added Karl-Anthony Towns: "Let me say it's a blessing to have him back. So to not have him for so long, it's amazing the talent he possesses. It's crazier to think that in one draft class, we got both of them [McDaniels and Edwards]."

Another fan protest

For the second consecutive game, there was a fan protest with 4 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the second quarter as a woman chained herself to the basket near the Wolves bench.

The animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere said one of its members named Zoe Rosenberg chained herself to the basket. She was carried out of the arena by security personnel. The group is protesting the egg farms owned by Wolves and Star Tribune owner Glen Taylor.

This comes after another protestor attempted to glue herself to the floor in Tuesday's play-in game at Target Center.

Etc.

After missing Tuesday's play-in game against the Clippers because of right knee soreness, Taurean Prince was available against the Grizzlies. Prince ended up playing 12 minutes and scored five points off the bench. Coach Chris Finch, before the game, when asked if he told the Wolves to toned down their emotions in the playoffs: "Not at all. Our team plays with a lot of swagger, a lot of belief, a lot of confidence. So do they. That's what you want from young players. It's not my job to temper their behaviors coming into a big game. I want them to let it fly."