Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman, the top two picks in last year’s NBA draft, had played against each other in high school All-Star exhibitions, but never in an NBA game until Monday.
Two nights later, they’ll go at it again when the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors meet in a rematch Wednesday night in San Francisco.
Minnesota’s Edwards had a jaw-dropping dunk among 15 points, and Golden State’s Wiseman responded to a demotion with 13 points off the bench in the Warriors’ 130-108 romp in the opener of the two-game set.
On a night when many things went right for the Warriors, Wiseman was gushing over Edwards’ dunk after the game.
“He’s a great player most definitely,” Wiseman said. “He’s just super-athletic coming off those screens, coming downhill. I really respect his game a lot. That was a great matchup.”
Edwards, meanwhile, spent most of his postgame interview session talking about his first-ever encounter with the Warriors’ Stephen Curry, the game’s leading scorer with 36 points.
“I have been watching him on TV,” Edwards said, “and it is not fake. It is not fake news. It is real. He will just take one dribble and pull up from deep and shoot it like it is nothing. I was watching him warm up and I was like, ‘That is crazy.'”
The Warriors outshot the Timberwolves 49.4 percent to 41.5 percent from the field and outscored them 42-24 on 3-pointers. Malik Beasley paced Minnesota with 30 points.
If there’s optimism among the Timberwolves that the rematch could be different, it comes from the fact that they held out star guard D’Angelo Russell from the first game due to a bruised quad.
It’s possible the former Warrior will be able to face his ex-teammates for the first time Wednesday.
Even without Russell out, point-guard play was the least of Minnesota’s problems in the loss. Starter Ricky Rubio and backup Jordan McLaughlin combined for 21 points and 16 assists.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained Wiseman’s demotion came as a result of Golden State wanting to get off to faster starts. The Warriors had been buried early in their two previous games, losses to New York and Utah.
The move worked. With defensive-minded Kevon Looney manning the middle, the Warriors held the Timberwolves to four points in the first 4:22, building a 15-point lead.
Looney wound up playing 19 minutes, during which the Warriors outscored the Timberwolves by 21 points. Golden State was outscored by two during Wiseman’s 16 minutes on the floor.
Andrew Wiggins, the other side of last February’s trade that sent Russell from Golden State to Minnesota, enjoyed his first reunion with 23 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks. He combined with Curry to shoot 21-for-40 overall from the field and 9-for-17 on 3-pointers.
The Warriors will complete their third same-opponent, same-site sequence of the season, having split with Portland and the Los Angeles Clippers in their previous two.
The Timberwolves also lost the first night of their two previous two-game sets. They rebounded once, beating San Antonio after earlier losing two straight to Denver.
–Field Level Media