Anthony Edwards had the ball in his hand staring down Pacers center Myles Turner, fresh off a pick-and-roll with Karl-Anthony Towns and the seconds winding down at the end of regulation Wednesday and the score tied 121-121.
Coach Ryan Saunders said the play was to get a set of mismatches, which the Wolves got — Turner on Edwards and a guard on Towns. The idea was to get something going to the basket, but Edwards, who was having a tough night shooting up until that point, saw room to shoot a three-pointer over Turner and decided to pull the trigger from the top of the key.
The shot went in, then back out, a backbreaking turn for a Wolves team that said it was fatigued playing the second night of back-to-back games. The Pacers took control in the overtime for a 134-128 victory over the Wolves, who had led 98-88 earlier in the fourth quarter. The Wolves didn't help themselves with breakdowns defensively late that allowed Indiana back in the game.
"We're young. We're still learning and obviously it was an expensive lesson we learned," Towns said. "Just miscommunication of the game plan by us."
As with a lot of fourth-quarter leads the Wolves (7-22) have had this year, this one wasn't safe, as Indiana mounted a 14-2 charge to reclaim the lead with just over six minutes remaining. The Wolves expended what energy they had trying to win the game in regulation. Trailing 107-102 with 4 minutes, 6 seconds remaining, the Wolves scored on eight consecutive possessions.
A night after Towns didn't get a shot in the fourth quarter, he scored nine of his 30 points in the fourth as the Wolves stormed ahead 121-116 with 58.9 seconds remaining.
But the Wolves couldn't get one more bucket -- or a defensive stop -- to seal the game.
The Pacers tied it on a Jeremy Lamb and two free throws from Domantas Sabonis, who had 36. Malcolm Brogdon also torched the Wolves for 32, including the clinching three-pointer with 9.8 seconds remaining in overtime.
Despite Towns' strong fourth quarter offensively, Edwards took the last shot on a night he finished 3 of 15 from the floor for eight points.
"In hindsight you would say, 'Hey, let's get something to the rim and put some pressure on their defense,' " Saunders said. "We got the last shot, it rattled in and out."
After Edwards' shot rimmed out the air came out of the Wolves, and they were gassed in more ways than one in the extra session. Malik Beasley, who Saunders didn't start after Beasley was late to a walkthrough, scored the only points for the Wolves in overtime. He finished with 31. Towns went 0-for-3 in the overtime.
"I think we were fatigued at the end of the game and we didn't think the right way," guard Ricky Rubio said. "We had some missed coverages."
Rubio said despite the miss at the end of regulation, he saw the mark of a special player in Edwards. He reminded Rubio, who had 20 points and 13 assists, of former teammate Donovan Mitchell in Utah.
"Him taking the last shot even if he didn't have his night, I told him that's what a special player does," Rubio said. "It went in and out. He had confidence. When he missed, you could see in his face he was surprised to miss, and when you're not having your night and having that attitude, that means a lot. Give him credit."
Even though Towns didn't take the final shot, he said he had no issue with Edwards' shot and said he was "proud" that Edwards took the shot after his tough night shooting.
"You can't be mad at that shot," Towns said. "You have to give a lot of credit to Ant for taking that kind of shot, having full confidence, not shooting the best tonight and still going up there and taking that shot with a lot of confidence. That shows you the warrior he is."
Edwards seemed to bounce back just fine. He didn't address the media after the game, but it didn't seem as if he was going to let missing the final shot hang over his head.
About an hour after the game ended, Edwards was back home, dancing with his dogs on Instagram Live.