The Timberwolves are an organization that prides itself on running counter to the load management culture of the NBA.
Under coach Chris Finch, the Wolves have encouraged their players to play if they can, and not take rest days even if they feel not 100%.
"We've always set out to be a [team where] we're gonna play," Finch said earlier this season. "That's our mindset. Our guys want to play. We want to play. We're not a rest team."
Anthony Edwards became the figurehead of this mentality at last year's All-Star Game, when he said he felt like players, especially stars, should play when they could.
"Just play, man," Edwards said then. "If you 80%, you've got to play. I don't like all the sitting, missing games. These people might have enough money to come to one game, you know what I'm saying. That might be the game they come to and you sitting out? I'm trying to take pride in playing every game."
So there was Edwards on the floor in the Wolves' 102-94 victory over the Spurs on Wednesday after missing the previous two games because of a hip pointer. He was favoring his hip at times in the first half, and he certainly didn't look like his normal self.
"Scared. I didn't want to do too much," Edwards said. "I think that was the main thing."
But Edwards did say it started to feel better in the second half.
Edwards had 17 points on 4-for-17 shooting. Percentage-wise, it was his worst shooting performance of the season, and Finch noticed Edwards wasn't back to where he was before the injury. Finch noticed Edwards passed up a number of open looks from three-point range early in the evening.
"Took him a while to find the rhythm of the game. I'm not sure he really ever did," Finch said. "I'd like to see him attack a little bit more. Seemed a little hesitant to go at times. But I'm sure he's working through a little bit of discomfort, so it's to be expected."
There was a key moment when Edwards put aside whatever was ailing him the rest of the night. With just under three minutes remaining, Naz Reid lined up a three from the top of the key, and Edwards knew he might have a chance for a special play. He crashed the glass from the right wing and caught the rebound at the perfect moment for a putback slam.
"I just know Naz shoots that shot like, that's his shot. He works on that every single day," Edwards said. "I said, 'Well, I'm just going to attack the offensive glass. If it comes off, I'm going to grab it and dunk it.' Because he won't miss left or right. He always misses long or short. So, it hit the front of the rim and bounced off, and I just grabbed it."
Reid rounding back into form
Reid started the season about as well as he and the Wolves could hope. Through the first six games, Reid averaged 15.7 points per game. After that, his production became spottier, and there was a trend the Wolves noticed with him — he was turning into too much of a spot-up shooter.
He's shooting 38% from deep on the season, but it seemed as if his three-point attempts were taking away from what Reid does best — attacking the basket. Of late, he has done that more.
Against Charlotte on Saturday, he was 9-for-14 for 23 points, his second-best output of the season. Even though he was 7-for-18 on Wednesday, he provided 15 points off the bench with most of that production coming inside the arc. Reid was 1-for-7 on threes, 6-for-11 on twos.
"I'm at the point of the season where I'm just playing freely, just moving it," Reid said. "Whether I hit threes or drive it to the rim. Either, or, I'm just playing free. I kind of got away from that, started getting complacent about the shot."