MINNEAPOLIS — Anthony Edwards and Patrick Beverley stood on the Goal Middle scorer’s desk, screaming and celebrating in an ode to an iconic second in Minnesota Timberwolves franchise historical past when Kevin Garnett stood on the desk and celebrated within the 2004 playoffs.
Not lengthy after leaping off the desk, Beverley sat on the Timberwolves bench and started sobbing in an outpouring of emotion. This was deeply private for Beverley. Not solely did the veteran level guard really feel the ecstasy of beating his former group, he rejoiced in serving to Minnesota clinch the seventh spot within the Western Convention playoffs with a 109-104 come-from-behind play-in win over the LA Clippers on Tuesday night time.
Minnesota will play the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in Recreation 1 on Saturday. It’s the first playoff look for the Timberwolves since 2018.
“Man, I needed this one so unhealthy,” mentioned Beverley, who hugged his mom, Lisa, on the court docket. “That is simply the icing on the cake, the cherry on prime. Play-in, to have the ability to beat them … one other purpose scratched off. I instructed you we had been going to the playoffs. Most of you all, y’all checked out me like I used to be loopy after I first mentioned that. I f—ing instructed y’all.”
And he wasted no time in telling his former group, which dealt him away in August, how he felt. The Clippers had despatched Beverley to Memphis, with the Grizzlies in flip buying and selling him to Minnesota, which gave him the contract extension he sought in February.
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After forcing a late turnover, Beverley celebrated in entrance of the Clippers bench, letting out a primal scream earlier than pulling and pointing to his Minnesota jersey.
“Take they ass dwelling,” Beverley mentioned of what he instructed his previous teammates on the finish. “Lengthy flight to L.A. Take they ass dwelling. It’s deeper than that for me. I gave my blood and sweat and tears to that group. You guys know the story.
“Blood, sweat and tears, to only be written off like that, ‘He’s damage susceptible, he’s previous.’ This, this, that, that. To have the ability to come right here and play them in a play-in and beat they ass, no different feeling, man. No different feeling.”
Beverley fulfilled a vow he made when he was launched to the Minnesota media in September that he would lead the Wolves to the playoffs. On Tuesday night time, he helped the franchise safe solely its second journey to the postseason since Garnett celebrated by standing on the identical desk after main the Wolves to the Western Convention finals in 2004.
And Beverley did so towards his former group. The purpose guard — who had seven factors and 11 rebounds — spent 4 seasons with the Clippers and helped the group transition from the Chris Paul–Blake Griffin–DeAndre Jordan period to its present squad with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. He helped set up the Clippers’ present identification of working laborious and their next-man-up mentality.
In Minnesota, Beverley’s scrappy hustle, hard-nosed protection and bravado have left a mark on a younger and impressionable roster.
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“They received guys which might be just a little bit extra assured,” George mentioned after scoring 34 factors for the Clippers, who now face the winner of the San Antonio Spurs–New Orleans Pelicans play-in sport for the eighth seed. “His power and his persona, you recognize, rubbed off, they made an influence on that roster.
“I do know what it was coming into this sport. I wasn’t going to permit Pat to do his antics and attempt to get me flustered. I knew it’s all for present. It’s for the gang. Will get the gang concerned. I like it. I like it. I miss it. He did it on our facet as a result of it’s contagious. I believe when he’s in that mode, it ignites the group, ignites the sector. You want power guys like that.”
Minnesota overcame a number of challenges to beat the Clippers. LA led by 10 with 8:54 remaining within the sport, and Karl-Anthony Cities, annoyed by being in foul bother your complete sport, fouled out with 7:34 left and simply 11 factors.
However Edwards scored 9 of his 30 factors after the 10-point deficit, and D’Angelo Russell hit a few massive 3-pointers within the remaining 4 minutes earlier than ending with 29 factors to assist Minnesota win the sport with a 21-5 run.
“I took what the sport gave me,” mentioned Edwards, who will play in his first playoff sequence. “And that’s what they gave me.
“They had been scared to protect me, and I took benefit of that.”
The Wolves celebrated on their dwelling court docket like they received a playoff sequence. And the followers soaked it up. In any case, the franchise misplaced a mean of 46 video games the previous three seasons.
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“I ain’t going to lie, that’s been on my thoughts since I figured we had been enjoying them,” Edwards mentioned of standing on the desk like Garnett. “I’ve been going to sleep [and] saying I’m going to hit the game-winning shot and I’m going to go leap on the desk.”
Beverley and the Wolves now need to face Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. However they had been going to savor this playoff berth first.
“I instructed you, Ant,” Beverley mentioned to Edwards. “They didn’t consider me. We going to the playoffs, child. They checked out me like I used to be loopy. They mentioned, ‘Pat, you loopy!’”