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Anthony Edwards' 42 points make mark in NBA rookie history

Anthony Edwards set a new bar for rookie scoring excellence in dropping 40 on the Suns in a 123-119 victory.

From Staff

Nightly Notable: Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards scores a career-high 42 points, becoming the third youngest player to score 40+ in NBA history.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have seen 12 top-five Draft picks suit up for the franchise during its 32-year history.

None of them — or any other Timberwolves rookie for that matter — scored as many points in his rookie season as Anthony Edwards did on Thursday night.

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 draft poured in a career-high 42 points in Minnesota’s stunning 123-119 win against the Phoenix Suns. The performance bests previous Timberwolves rookie nights by Zach LaVine (37), Karl-Anthony Towns (35), and Christian Laettner (35), and also surpasses Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey for most points scored by a first-year player this season.

Game Recap: Timberwolves 123, Suns 119

At 19 years and 226 days old, Edwards becomes the third-youngest player in NBA history to score 40 or more in a game, trailing only LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Edwards is also the first rookie to score 40 or more points in a game since Grayson Allen dropped 40 on the LA Clippers as a rookie with the Utah Jazz on April 10, 2019.

Youngest players to score 40 or more

LeBron James 19 years, 88 days March 27, 2004
Kevin Durant 19 years, 200 days April 16, 2008
Anthony Edwards 19 years, 225 days March 18, 2021
Carmelo Anthony 19 years, 306 days March 30, 2004

Edwards got to the rim at will against a Suns team boasting the fourth-best defensive rating in the league. He shot 11-for-18 inside the arc and earned a game-high 13 free throw attempts, too. His driving layup with 2 minutes, 36 seconds remaining put him past the 40-point mark and gave Minnesota the lead for good.

Edwards has been unleashed since Timberwolves coach Chris Finch replaced Ryan Saunders on Feb. 22. In the 10 games since, the 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 24.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals while shooting a markedly improved 41.9% from the field.

“I put in the work,” Edwards said after Thursday’s game. “I work in the dark. It should come to the light.”

“He’s blooming for us at the right time,” Finch added.

Edwards wasn’t the only former No. 1 pick to go off for the Timberwolves against Phoenix. Towns also dominated the Suns’ normally stingy defense for 41 points of his own, an encouraging season-high after the 25-year-old big man had battled injuries and COVID-19 earlier this season.

Towns and Edwards become just the seventh pair of teammates to each score 40 or more in the same game over the last 20 seasons, and the first since Kawhi Leonard and Paul George did so on Dec. 13, 2019.

Teammates to score 40 or more in same game

Date Team Result (vs. Opponent) Players
March 18, 2021 Minnesota Timberwolves 123-119 W (vs. Suns) Anthony Edwards (42), Karl-Anthony Towns (41)
Dec. 13, 2019 LA Clippers 124-117 W (vs. Timberwolves) Paul George (46), Kawhi Leonard (42)
Feb. 22, 2019 Oklahoma City Thunder 148-147 W in 2OT (vs. Jazz) Paul George (45), Russell Westbrook (43)
April 9, 2017 Minnesota Timberwolves 110-109 L (vs. Lakers) Andrew Wiggins (41), Karl-Anthony Towns (40)
Oct. 30, 2015 Oklahoma City Thunder 139-136 W in 2OT (vs. Magic) Russell Westbrook (48), Kevin Durant (43)
March 23, 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder 149-140 W in 2 OT (vs. Timberwolves) Russell Westbrook (45), Kevin Durant (40)
Feb. 19, 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder 124-118 W in OT (vs. Nuggets) Kevin Durant (51), Russell Westbrook (40)

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.