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T-Wolves shut down Suns to take 3-0 series lead

Kate Frese / National Basketball Association / Getty

Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves led wire to wire to defeat the Phoenix Suns 126-109 on their home floor and secure a 3-0 series lead Friday night.

No team has ever come back from an 0-3 hole in NBA playoff history, with previous sides going a combined 0-151.

Edwards led all scorers with 36 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, including 18 points in a dominant final frame. The 22-year-old now shares the franchise playoff record for 30-point performances with Kevin Garnett at seven.

The Timberwolves were too much on the interior, winning the rebounding battle 50-28, second-chance points 19-8, and points in the paint 56-36.

"We got killed on the boards. This is a bigger, stronger team," Suns coach Frank Vogel told David Brandt of The Associated Press. "We've got to compete and win the 50-50 balls. I thought our guys gave the effort, but it wasn’t enough."

Big man Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Naz Reid both contributed double-digit points off the bench.

Defensive Player of the Year favorite Gobert was particularly effective at limiting Phoenix's forays in the paint.

"That's what I do best," Gobert said. "I try to be a presence, give confidence to my teammates, making sure I'm there for them. I'm trying to get some blocks, but they don't really try me. So at the end of the day, that's better than any block."

The Suns got strong production from their Big Three with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal combining to score 76 points on 26-of-52 shooting. However, no other Suns player made more than three shots.

For a third straight game, Minnesota parlayed a big third quarter into a sizeable margin of victory. After clinging to a six-point lead at the half, the T-Wolves drained 7 of 11 efforts from distance to take a 22-point advantage into the final frame.

"This is a team you need to dictate terms with," Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. "You don't want to get behind big on them because of the way they can shoot the ball. That's been part of our messaging, part of our emphasis, we have to get off to good starts."

Phoenix will begin its attempt to make a historic comeback Sunday night at home.

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