DALLAS – Earlier in the day, as Karl-Anthony Towns talked about his shooting slump, Anthony Edwards walked by and loudly predicted that Towns would make eight three-pointers on Tuesday night.

His prediction didn't come true, but the sentiment resounded. Edwards, the Timberwolves' 22-year-old franchise player, was looking out for his teammate on the day of an elimination game.

Sunday night, Edwards looked out for an entire organization and its fan base, lifting the Wolves to a 105-100 victory over the Mavericks with an all-around game that rises to the top of his résumé.

“I'm honored to be playing with my brother here, and every day I see the way he works.”
Karl-Anthony Towns

Facing the possibility of a sweep in a very loud arena, Edwards came within one pass of a triple-double, finishing with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

He handled the ball. He guarded Luka Doncic, the Mavericks' resident magician. He led, in word and deed, and that's why Wolves fans will get to see him at least one more time in person this season.

In the fourth quarter, Edwards assisted on all three of Towns' three-pointers.

"Everything came together for him," Edwards said of Towns. "He played exceptionally well, and he's the reason we won tonight."

So often during the Western Conference finals, Edwards has looked mentally or physically fatigued. He hardly played a perfect game Tuesday — he had six turnovers, five fouls and shot 11-for-25 from the field.

But he kept the Wolves in the game when they desperately needed scoring, so when Towns started making shots in the third quarter, his shots mattered.

Edwards and Towns have been outplayed by the Mavericks' two stars, Doncic and Kyrie Irving, for most of the series. Doncic was productive again on Sunday, but the Wolves, led by Edwards' physical defense, held him to 7-for-21 from the field.

However this series turns out, Towns and Edwards playing so well in an elimination game in late May bodes well for the franchise.

"Listen, KAT's a great player," Wolves coach Chris Finch said. "His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going …

"I'm really proud of him. He's been a huge part of every series up until then, and we knew we had to get him going in this series."

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The Wolves' sideline was an opera all night. Finch kept rising on his surgically repaired knee, then walking onto the court to run huddles. He even got a technical foul from the second row, which might be an NBA first for a head coach.

Late in the game, Towns flexed at the Wolves bench after a big three and, in the next timeout huddle, Edwards stood in front of his teammates, screaming.

After the Wolves won Game 7 of the semifinals in Denver, Edwards and Towns went to the interview room, sat together, and put on what might as well have been a comedy routine that peaked when a reporter asked if they were surprised they hadn't had to endure more playoff losses to learn to earn such a victory.

"You wanted us to lose more?" Towns said, incredulously, because he knows better than anyone the Wolves' sordid history, and the room filled with laughter.

Tuesday, their affection for each other showed.

"I had a front-row seat to watch Ant — because I fouled out," Towns said, again drawing laughter. "Ant was visualizing. He gets over to that right hand with that pull-up, it's going to be cash.

"I'm honored to be playing with my brother here, and every day I see the way he works."

Edwards called Towns "a great player." Unprompted, Edwards praised teammates Kyle Anderson and Jaden McDaniels. When guard Mike Conley walked into the news conference, Edwards began profanely began teasing him about his age and his "clown pants."

As Edwards left the room, he yelled, "Thanks for being my point guard, Mike."

Conley, with a smile, said: "Will you leave me alone?"

Conley credited Edwards with "keeping the energy alive" when facing elimination.

After cheering up and cheering on his teammates, Edwards called it "playing with joy."

He has a way with words.