When a young star is facing suffocating pressure to save his team from postseason elimination, he may need a calming and reassuring voice in his ear. For Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Edwards, it was one of the people who helped prepare him for the NBA.

Former Georgia basketball head coach Tom Crean texted the two-time All-Star before and during halftime of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday with simple yet effective advice– “play with joy,” per Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix. Edwards looked to be a lot looser and upbeat in Minnesota's 105-100 road win against the Dallas Mavericks.

He was a bit too loose at times, committing six turnovers, but Edwards gave his squad the push it needed with a near-triple-double effort consisting of 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the American Airlines Center. He trusted his teammates (Karl-Anthony Towns added 25 points and made a few clutch 3-pointers) and assumed the top guy role when necessary.

And the outspoken 22-year-old definitely had fun on the court, barking like a dog and revving up the Timberwolves on the sidelines. Edwards' energy can be just as powerful as his supreme talent, and in Game 4, his enthusiasm seemed infectious.

With the No. 3 seed in the West now heading back to Target Center for Thursday night's Game 5, it appears that fans have Tom Crean to partially thank for their team not being swept in this series.

Anthony Edwards must be both excited and controlled for Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts in front of Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington (25) during the second half during game four of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Crean endured a miserable tenure in Georgia, amassing a dreadful 47-75 record in four seasons (2018-22). Anthony Edwards was a ray of light amid the darkness, however. Despite not advancing to the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs saw their star freshman become the program's first and only No. 1 NBA Draft pick in 2020.

Edwards' decision to stay in his home state instead of representing blue bloods like Kentucky, Kansas or North Carolina befuddled many, but he clearly gained some wisdom during his year in Athens. Although his tremendous potential was evident to scouts and fans, there was a concern that the SEC Rookie of the Year could struggle to develop the necessary discipline to soar to the top of his craft.

Edwards improved his shot selection and harnessed his emotions, thereby becoming one of the fastest rising players in the NBA today. A bevvy of individual accolades and more postseason success look like a safe prediction for the future, just as long as he remembers what helped get him to this stage in the first place.

Embodying the joy that Crean mentions is important, but Edwards must also not let his passion overtake him. Mastering the balancing act of playing with emotion and maintaining composure is essential for him and the Timberwolves. It worked in Game 4 and will need to be on full display in Game 5 if Minnesota is going to have a legitimate shot at history.

Will this rediscovered joy be enough to stop the Grim Reaper from snatching the soul of this championship-starved franchise?