Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Jaden McDaniels shines in Wolves' Game 2 victory

Jaden McDaniels’ career night helps lift Minnesota to its first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since the Kevin Garnett days.

Defensive ace Jaden McDaniels scores 25 points while helping to hold the Suns below 100 for the 2nd straight game.

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Coming into the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t receive a single vote to finish in the Western Conference’s Top 4 in the NBA GM Survey. So, behind a defensive revolution that saw them jump from 10th to 1st in DefRtg, the Wolves spent all year proving they belonged.

In Tuesday’s 105-93 Game 2 win over the Suns, a team that’d put up 118 ppg against them in the regular season, they just kept proving it – led this time by a player who’s quietly helped them grind into the West’s elite. | Recap

Jaden McDaniels went for a Playoff career-high 25 points, and helped to lock down the Suns’ star-studded offense, as the Wolves took just the second 2-0 lead in team history. | McDaniels’ Best

  • Only other time: Minnesota’s last 2-0 lead in a Playoff series came in 2004, when the Wolves took down Denver, 4-1 in the First Round
  • McDaniels steps up: With the Suns keyed on Anthony Edwards, the fourth-year wing took over, taking a team-high 17 shots and posting a team-high +24 with 8 reb
  • On the other end: McDaniels helped lock down the Suns’ star trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, who went just 18-for-45 from the floor
  • Ant On McDaniels: “He’s the X-Factor.”
  • Wolves coach Chris Finch: “His activity’s been another level so far in these 2 games. … I thought he had a special performance tonight, really special.”
  • Turning point: The Suns took an 8-point lead in the 2nd, but the Wolves rattled off a 43-27 run from the midpoint of the 2Q through the 3rd, powered by 13 from McDaniels and 8 from Karl-Anthony Towns in the stretch 

More On McDaniels: The forward out of Washington has built a reputation on the defensive end, finishing 16th in DefRtg this year among starters (min 50 games).

  • This year, players shot 1.8% worse from the floor when guarded by him
  • Standout In His Class: McDaniels is the only member of the 2020 NBA Draft class to have 200+ blk & 200+ stl
  • Said McDaniels: “Being in the Playoffs is a dream come true.”

Game 3 tips Friday on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. ET.