17 July 2024

With the Denver Nuggets on the ropes, their home crowd seized with panic, Anthony Edwards took his time as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — a champion and one of the league’s best on-ball defenders — shadowed his every move. With help defenders lurking, Edwards pointed for Minnesota Timberwolves teammate Karl-Anthony Towns to cross to the weak side.

Edwards and KCP are friends, fellow roses bloomed from the red clay of Georgia. Their closeness is the context for the scene that followed. There was 1:40 on the clock when Towns vacated. Minnesota was up nine in the fourth quarter. And Edwards was being intentional about, as he said, trying to “kill everything in front of me.” Homies included. Once he got Caldwell-Pope on his back, and room to work on the left wing, his dribble changed. It had a rhythm as he backed down the Nuggets’ best defender with baby steps. Bounce. One-two. Bounce. One-two. Bounce. One-two. But instead of the next bounce, Edwards spun back toward the baseline. His fluid pivot allowed him to lift off smoothly.

 

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