WASHINGTON — Timberwolves coach Chris Finch often says Anthony Edwards has a great sense of timing. That's something not every 20-year-old in the NBA has.
Edwards senses when his team needs for him to go a little harder, identifying the moments in games when it feels like things are starting to get away from the Wolves.
Take their past two home games. Center Karl-Anthony Towns was in foul trouble last week in the first half against the Heat. Edwards responded by scoring 17 points in the first half and 33 in the game.
On Monday, with the Wolves undermanned and behind late in the third quarter, Edwards sparked a push that put the Wolves ahead by the end of the quarter.
"That is a very typical Ant game," Finch said. "He has these moments. … Oftentimes, it starts on the defensive end. You get steals and then he gets out in transition and gets an easy one. Then he feels confident and he knocks down a three, and he strings it together.
"I refer to him as a home run hitter. He's up there, and home run hitters aren't afraid to strike out."
Edwards barreled up the ball in that third quarter Monday.
As Finch said, defense tends to drive Edwards' runs. First he hit a three-pointer that pulled the Wolves within one. Then, with the score tied, Edwards got a steal and an easy dunk.
After that, one of Edwards' triggers that he might need to take over occurred — Towns picked up his fourth foul.
"Once big fella go out, then you know, it's time," Edwards said. "It's like a switch clicking in my head, like, 'All right, come on. Let's get it.' And I go from there."
A few minutes later, an Edwards rebound led to an alley oop in transition from Taurean Prince. Edwards closed the quarter with another steal and a three-pointer to put the Wolves ahead 78-76.
"I know if I get a steal or if I have a big possession, like if somebody tries going one-on-one on me and I cut them off or something, I know that's going to get me going," Edwards said.
When Edwards gets going, the crowd also gets going, bringing an added electricity to Target Center. The crowd hangs on his every dribble. Edwards was asked why.
"I'm a people person, man," he said. "You've got to love me. You've got to."
Wolves fans seem to have taken a liking to him, and Edwards appreciates the love.
"It brings a smile to my face knowing that as soon as I get going, everybody just starts standing up, gets super loud," Edwards said. "Once I hit that step-back three, it was so loud in there, bro. Like damn, it's crazy. I love it. I love the fans, man. I love to interact with them. I love their energy."