Timberwolves’ Game 7 could do for Anthony Edwards what Game 7 did 20 years ago for Kevin Garnett

It’s easy to forget now, with Kevin Garnett long-retired from the NBA and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, but the narrative from the early stage of his career was defined in part by playoff disappointment and a narrative that he disappeared in the biggest moments.

KG’s Wolves lost seven consecutive first-round series between 1997 and 2003. They were typically overmatched as a lower seed, but Garnett took the brunt of criticism — some fair, some not.

The arc of his career took a dramatic turn, though, during the 2003-04 season. He delivered an MVP season and joined forces with Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell to lead the Wolves to the No. 1 seed in the West. And once there, he helped deliver two series victories, punctuating the second with a narrative-busting effort in a Game 7 victory over Sacramento in the Western Conference semifinals.

KG’s game — 32 points, 21 rebounds, five blocks and four steals in 46 minutes of an 83-80 win that wasn’t decided until a Chris Webber three-pointer rimmed out in the final moment — became part of his legend, which I talked about on Friday’s Daily Delivery podcast.

That was the last and only great team in Wolves history — until this season. And in a quirk of scheduling that works well with our love of round-number anniversaries, the only other Game 7 in franchise history will arrive Sunday in Denver exactly 20 years after that Wolves victory over the Kings on May 19, 2004.

That also happens to be KG’s birthday. He delivered that masterpiece on the day he turned 28.

Anthony Edwards is more than five years younger than Garnett and won’t turn 23 until August. He doesn’t carry nearly as much playoff baggage as KG did, nor is it perhaps fair to expect as much from an ascending 22-year-old as from a mid-career MVP.

But make no mistake: this is an opportunity for Ant, just as it was for KG. Edwards already has a reputation as a playoff riser, in contrast to Garnett’s early career, but this is a chance to start building a legacy.

If Edwards delivers a KG-like Game 7 performance and the Wolves win Sunday in Denver, it will be a moment Minnesota fans talk about 20 years later when Ant is long-retired and perhaps also enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Everything we know about Edwards suggests he is ready for the moment.

Here are four more things to know today:

*Also on Friday’s podcast, the Star Tribune’s Kent Youngblood joined me to set up the Lynx home opener at Target Center and to talk about the explosive growth of the WNBA.

*The details really elevated Patrick Reusse’s column on the Twins’ offensive futility in a three-game sweep by the Yankees.

*The Scottie Scheffler story is unreal.

*If you have Apple TV+ you can watch the Twins vs. Guardians on Friday night.

First appeared on www.startribune.com

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