Anthony Edwards’ star turn continues in Minnesota + James Harden takes the court again

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I’d pay so much money to watch Anthony Edwards and Cam Thomas play one-on-one.

Star Turn

Anthony Edwards is slaying behemoths

The defending champion Denver Nuggets entered the past week undefeated. The Boston Celtics went into last night undefeated. Both were dealt their first respective losses of the season. Why?

Anthony Edwards. That’s why.

Down the stretch of Minnesota’s recent 110-89 win over Denver, Ant was an absolute menace on both ends of the floor. During last night’s 114-109 overtime thriller against the NBA’s only remaining undefeated team? He single-handedly took over in overtime and ended Boston’s run.

He survived the fourth quarter with five fouls and didn’t commit a foul in overtime against the Celtics either. Instead, Edwards used his passing in the fourth quarter to counteract some bad shooting decisions down the stretch, before scoring eight of the Wolves’ 13 points in the extra period. He even assisted on a 3-pointer by Mike Conley.

Edwards orchestrated a 9-0 run in overtime to give the Wolves breathing room. He clamped Jayson Tatum despite foul trouble. They were talking trash at the overtime jump ball. Edwards was never deterred by the task of defending one of the world’s best players and scoring on an elite defense. 

Afterward, he said he told Tatum, “I play defense. I just got five fouls.”

The Wolves have been much-maligned for almost their entire existence, wasting a dozen years of Kevin Garnett’s Hall of Fame career and misfiring on Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns as franchise guys.

But Edwards is the real deal, though. He’s quickly made it clear building around him is how the Wolves dig out of their decades-old hole of irrelevance. Ant is so good, I’ve often referred to him as Wolves-proof. He’s got the highest-scoring six-game start in team history (28.2 per game) while sporting a 62.2 true shooting percentage. Only 11 players have done that over an entire season.

At just 22 years old, Edwards is leading a team with the NBA’s best defense in this early season, slaying giants and ascending into superstardom. If you’re suddenly wondering why the Wolves look good, look no further.

The Latest From Shams

Suns’ super-team arrival

The Suns revamped their roster this offseason but have yet to play with their full complement of players.

I’m told the expectation is for that to change in the next seven to 10 days. Bradley Beal (back), acquired this offseason from Washington, hasn’t played this season, but there’s optimism he could make his debut Wednesday against the Bulls or Friday against the Lakers. Devin Booker, who’s out with a calf strain, is expected to miss Wednesday’s game, but the Suns are hopeful he can return in one of the few games after that.

Phoenix’s other Big Three member, Kevin Durant, has kept the 3-4 Suns afloat thus far, averaging 29.9 points per game, including a season-high 41 Sunday in Detroit. But we won’t get a glimpse of Phoenix’s full potential until Durant, Booker and Beal are all on the court together.

One transaction to note: The LA Clippers are planning to convert two-way guard Josh Primo to a standard contract and sign guard Xavier Moon to a two-way deal, league sources tell me. Primo, the 12th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft who was waived by San Antonio in October 2022, has been undergoing therapy and was suspended for four games in September due to “conduct detrimental to the NBA” after a league investigation “found that Primo engaged in inappropriate and offensive behavior by exposing himself to women.”

Back to you, Zach.

About Harden’s Clippers Debut

It didn’t go as planned …

Ever since James Harden requested a trade to the Clippers, we’ve all been pretty curious what that looks like. Harden plus Kawhi Leonard and Paul George equals three guys who dribble the life out of the ball in isolation situations. Russell Westbrook’s resurgence only complicates it.

And yet, the Clippers’ Big Three has so much talent surrounded by high-quality role players. What if it works, you know?

Last night, against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, we definitely saw how the new-look Clippers shouldn’t look, as they failed to score 100 points for the first time this season. This marked only the fourth such instance dating back to last season’s halfway point.

Rebound and turnovers were the biggest reasons for their 111-97 loss to the Knicks, who dominated the paint, rebounded well and scored 35 points off 22 turnovers. The Clippers were discombobulated, almost like they added a big part to their team with little time to adjust.

Controlling and rebounding the ball were already problems early in this season. Harden and Westbrook are two great rebounding guards, but those rebounds will likely be contested opportunities they must win now, given the Clippers being smaller. Are they willing to do that?

Ty Lue has been pining for a more free-flowing offense, but we didn’t see that against the Knicks’ defense. Turnovers happen, but the Clippers need to get everybody involved and maintain an overwhelming offense. Last night’s glimpse shows this is a massive work in progress, if it works at all

Cam Thomas Watch

The Bounce’s favorite scorer did it again

The Nets lost at home to the Bucks 129-125, but the team result is secondary here.

Cam Thomas, this newsletter’s favorite scorer, went off again —  this time for 45 points on 19-of-33 shooting. He even added three assists. Fifteen of his 45 came in the fourth quarter, but it just wasn’t enough for Thomas and the Nets to overcome Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton down the stretch.

Thomas is ninth in the NBA in scoring average (28.7), fifth in total points (201), and he has as many 3-pointers as total assists (17). Go get buckets. That’s what we’re here for.

Bounce Passes

This poster dunk by Jaylen Brown all over Rudy Gobert is so nasty.

Rookie of the Year odds are shifting, but Victor Wembanyama remains the favorite.

John Hollinger says it’s the Celtics and Nuggets, then everybody else.

Denver probably had bacon, egg and cheese, so there’s no championship hangover.

Screen Game

No games tonight in the Association. The NBA is taking the day off for Election Day. Vote early and often! Catch up on some television! Maybe read a book? Play the new Spider-Man video game?

The world is your oyster tonight. You’re going to watch Wemby highlights all night, aren’t you?

(Top photo: David Berding / Getty Images)

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