Starting 5 Daily Newsletter

Starting 5, May 29: Anthony Edwards, Wolves force Game 5

The Wolves beat the Mavs in Dallas to send the West Finals back to Minnesota. Plus, capturing the legendary Bill Walton in photos.

Starting 5Three to the dome if you dropped 29 points on the road to send the series back home.


What’s inside today’s edition? 

Wolves force Game 5: Minnesota holds on to beat Dallas & extend the series

Ant & KAT show: Minnesota’s star duo led the Wolves to their first West Finals win in 20 years

Closing time: The Wolves delivered in the clutch to improve to 3-0 in elimination games

Celtics connections: How Boston’s 2024 Finals squad is tied to title teams of the past

Walton in photos: Celebrate the legend with a dozen images that best captured him


Yesterday’s score & what to watch today.

No games today. The West Finals resume tomorrow in Minnesota (8:30 ET, TNT) with the Wolves once again playing to keep their season going and the Mavs one win away from the Finals.


Anthony Edwards fills the box score and Karl-Anthony Towns scores 20 in the 2nd half to force the series back to Minnesota.

The West Finals are headed back to Minnesota.

The Timberwolves won their first Western Conference Finals game in 20 years, defeating the Mavs 105-100 in Dallas to keep their season going and force a Game 5 on Thursday back in Minnesota. | Recap | Watch The Final 4:46

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for 54 points, outdueling the Dallas duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for the first time in the series.

  • Game 1: Luka & Kyrie 63 pts, KAT & Ant 35 pts (Mavs +28 pts)
  • Game 2: Luka & Kyrie 52, KAT & Ant 36 (Mavs +16)
  • Game 3: Luka & Kyrie 66, KAT & Ant 40 (Mavs +26)
  • Game 4: KAT & Ant 54, Luka & Kyrie 44 (Wolves +10)

🗣️ Ant: “We still have a lot of work to do. We just wanted to get one game to extend the series. …I took it personal. I didn’t want to get swept.”

🗣️ KAT: “We get another chance to get another one [win], pretty simple.”

Backs Against The Wall: The Wolves improved to 3-0 this postseason when facing elimination, with two of those season-extending wins coming on the road.

  • West Semis: Trailing 3-2, the Wolves survived elimination in Games 6 (at home) and 7 (in Denver) to reach their first West Finals in 20 years
  • West Finals: After dropping the first three games of the series, the Wolves avoided their first four-game losing streak of the season with a win in Dallas

Daunting Task Still Ahead: Of the 156 teams that have faced a 3-0 deficit, the Wolves became just the 61st to avoid the sweep.

But they still face a long road toward becoming the first team to win a series when trailing 3-0.

  • Only 15 teams have ever pushed the series to a Game 6
  • Only four teams have fought all the way back to reach Game 7 (including the 2023 Celtics)

Triple-Double Watch: Luka Doncic (28 pts, 15 reb, 10 ast) recorded his ninth career Playoff triple-double in the loss, while Edwards (29 pts, 10 reb, 9 ast) fell one dime short of his first (regular season or Playoffs).

  • The Wolves got a double-double from Rudy Gobert (13 pts, 10 reb, 1 blk) as all five Minnesota starters scored 10+ points
  • Despite playing a game-high 42 minutes, Kyrie Irving had his lowest-scoring game of the series (16 pts on 6-of-18 shooting)


Hitting just 13.6% of his 3s and 27.8% overall through Games 1-3, Towns nets 20 of his 25 points after the break in Game 4.

Karl-Anthony Towns takes pride in his 3-point shooting.

Towns finished 2nd this year among centers in 3PM, with the highest 3PT% among those who took at least 5 per game.

He won the 3-Point Contest at NBA All-Star 2022, becoming the first big man to win the event since Kevin Love a decade earlier.

But over the previous five games entering Tuesday’s Game 4, he was mired in the worst 3-point shooting slump of his career.

  • May 16-26, 2024: Towns shot 4-of-32 (12.5%) from 3-point range in the final two games of the West Semis vs. Denver and the first three games of the West Finals vs. Dallas

After shooting just 3-of-22 from deep in the first three games of the series, Towns found his shooting touch just in time in Game 4.

  • Towns shot 4-of-5 from 3 in Game 4 – including a trio of 3s in the span of 2:47 of game time in the 4th quarter as part of a 9-2 Wolves run that put them up six with under three minutes left
  • 🗣️ Ant on KAT: “He played exceptionally well… he came through big time, he’s the reason we won tonight.”

Anthony Edwards pours in 29 points and the Wolves hold off Dallas 105-100 to stave off elimination and push the series back to Minnesota.

But this was far from a one-star show. With Towns battling foul trouble most of the night – he played 7.5 minutes in the 4th with five fouls before picking up his sixth with 98 seconds left – Minnesota’s young phenom had his best game of the series.

  • Hitting His Stride? Edwards’ scoring has increased in each game this series: 16 in Game 1, 21 in Game 2, 25 in Game 3 and 29 in Game 4
  • With his 15th career 25+ point Playoff game, Ant passed Kevin Garnett for most in Timberwolves history
  • 🗣️ Ant: “I think I was aggressive. I didn’t run to the corner in the 4th quarter, late in the 4th. I didn’t shy away from the ball. I kept going to the ball, they kept giving it to me and trusting me.”

The Wolves improved to 22-11 when Towns and Edwards combined for 50+ points this season. Can they repeat this effort Thursday at home to extend their season once again?


Each game of the 2024 West Finals has come down to clutch time – score within five points in the final five minutes. Here are the situations as the clock hit five minutes left in the 4th quarter:

  • Game 1: Mavs 98, Wolves 96 (Mavs +2)
  • Game 2: Wolves 98, Mavs 97 (Wolves +1)
  • Game 3: Wolves 104, Mavs 102 (Wolves +2)
  • Game 4: Wolves 95, Mavs 90 (Wolves +5)

Through the first three games, the Mavs dominated clutch time led by the star duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, with timely buckets from their role players.

  • Mavs Clutch (Games 1-3): 31 pts, 61.1% FG, 62.5% 3P
  • Wolves Clutch (Games 1-3): 20 pts, 35.3% FG, 20% 3P

Minnesota kept its season alive with a clutch road win at Dallas. Now it'll have to do so again at Target Center on Thursday.

Despite leading late in Games 1-3, the Wolves were never able to out-execute the Mavs down the stretch.

Until Tuesday’s Game 4.

In the game’s final 6:13, the Wolves shot 7-for-10 from the floor (including 3-for-4 from 3-point range).

Edwards and Towns got things started, with Ant driving and kicking to KAT on the wing for his fourth and final 3 of the game to put the Wolves up six with 2:54 left.

  • After a scoreless 90 seconds, Ant called his own number, showing off his footwork in the lane to free up for an eight-foot bank shot to push the lead to eight with 1:17 left
  • After a 5-0 Mavs burst to make it a three point game, Ant delivered again, this time with a 22-foot pullup jumper with 40 seconds left
  • A Mike Conley free throw and a Naz Reid layup provided the final margin to bump the Wolves to 4-3 this postseason in clutch games


One Franchise. 17 Championships. 23 Finals Appearances.

The Boston Celtics, seeking an unprecedented 18th title – which would break a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most all-time – are no stranger to hanging banners.

Since their inaugural season in 1946, the Cs have collected 17 titles and are now back in the Finals for the second time in three years. Take a glimpse at how this year’s Finals appearance connects to their first one nearly 70 years ago.

1950s & 1960s: In 1957 – Bill Russell’s rookie season – the Celtics won their first NBA championship, marking the start of a dynasty that saw 11 titles in just 13 years, including eight in a row under coach Red Auerbach (1950-66).

  • 11 Titles: 1957, 1959-66, 1968, 1969
  • NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: Bob Cousy (1950-63), Bill Sharman (1951-61), Bill Russell (1956-69), Sam Jones (1957-69), John Havlicek (1962-78)
  • 🗣️ Larry Bird On Russell: “He set the bar; he set it too high, but he set the bar.”

1970s: When Russell retired as a player/coach in 1969, Auerbach – then the Celtics’ top executive – handed coaching duties to Russell’s former teammate Tom Heinsohn. Under Heinsohn, captain John Havlicek and 1973 NBA MVP Dave Cowens led the squad to two titles.

  • 2 Titles: 1974, 1976
  • NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: John Havlicek (1962-78), Dave Cowens (1970-80)
  • 🗣️ Russell On Havlicek: “The best all-around player I ever saw.”

1980s: Havlicek hung up the sneaks in 1978, but Auerbach selected Larry Bird in that year’s NBA Draft and added Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in 1980 – planting the seeds of another dynasty.

  • 3 Titles: 1981, 1984, 1986
  • NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: Nate Archibald (1978-83), Larry Bird (1979-92), Kevin McHale (1980-93), Robert Parish (1980-94), Bill Walton (1985-87)
  • 🗣️ Havlicek On Bird In 1985: “I think he’s the best forward to ever play the game.”

Late 2000s & Early 2010s: Boston didn’t win a title in the 1990s, but they did draft Paul Pierce in ‘98, and added GM Danny Ainge – a member of the ‘84 and ‘86 title teams. They also acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, who alongside Pierce and Rajon Rondo, helped raise banner No. 17 – the franchise’s first in 22 years.

  • 1 Title: 2008
  • NBA 75th Anniversary Team Members: Paul Pierce (1998-2013), Ray Allen (2007-12), Kevin Garnett (2007-13)
  • 🗣️ Pierce On The Celtics: “They don’t hang up any other banners but championship ones, and now I’m a part of it.”

2017-Present: In 2013, Ainge traded Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn for three future First Round picks, two of which became Jaylen Brown (2016) and Jayson Tatum (2017), who have guided Boston to six ECF appearances in eight seasons and two Finals in three years.

  • 2 Finals Appearances: 2022, 2024
  • 8 ECF Appearances: 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • 🗣️ Tatum On Returning To The Finals: “It’s special… you don’t take it for granted”


Hall of Famer Bill Walton was one of the giants of the game who could shoot and pass and helped re-invent the center position.

On Monday, the NBA family lost one of its most colorful – and beloved – personalities. And as tributes keep rolling in for Bill Walton, today we celebrate the legend with some photos that best captured him.

Remembering Walton: For a tribute to the 2-time champ, NBA 75 member and iconic broadcaster – featuring stories of his singular journey, his classic games and more – head to the NBA App.