The Minnesota Timberwolves managed to take down the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. On the second night of a back-to-back, the Wolves struggled to handle the Grizzlies’ size and physicality. The team got severely out-rebounded on the night. Grizzlies big Jaren Jackson Jr. was having his way with Minnesota. Jackson had his inside game going early and sprinkled in some long-distance shots to as he was the game-high scorer through most of the night. Clearly gassed from the night prior, Minnesota was searching for a miracle. That’s when All-Star guard Anthony Edwards stepped up in a big way.

Not only did Edwards carry the load offensively but he dialed in on the defensive end as well. Edwards asked Chris Finch for the Jackson Jr. assignment and he delivered.

Down the stretch of the game, the Grizzlies big went radio silent while Edwards continued to pour it on. Ultimately turning a double-digit deficit into a 110-101 victory in favor of the Timberwolves. Postgame, Anthony Edwards shared all the details on what went into shutting down his matchup.

Timberwolves ‘ Anthony Edwards shares secret behind guarding Grizzlies' Jaren Jackson Jr.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) defends the Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) in the second quarter at Target Center.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With head coach Chris Finch confirming that Edwards volunteered to switch onto Jaren Jackson Jr., everyone wanted to know his reasoning. Ant told it plainly like he always does.

“S**t, he was cookin. That’s pretty much it. We couldn’t guard him. I said, shit, I might as well try.”

While the matchup might not have seemed favorable for Minnesota given the height disadvantage, Edwards played bigger than he is. Leveraging his strength and physicality in a battle for positioning on the court. The Georgia native grew up a big football fan and a multi-sport athlete. When further discussing the matchup with Jackson Jr., Edwards shared his secret to defending bigger players.

“You gotta be physical. I think playing football helped me a lot growing up as a kid. You gotta initiate the contact, be the first one to hit and after that, it’s a fight. We’re in the ring.”

Equating his hard work defensively to a fight, Edwards showcased his football background on Wednesday night. Battling for every inch on the court, Edwards pressed up on Jackson Jr. and made him uncomfortable. Edwards’ strength on the basketball defensively is a trait Minnesota doesn’t quite have from their other elite point-of-attack defenders. Jaden McDaniels wins with his length and recovery ability. Nickeil Alexander-Walker duels with his quickness and screen navigation prowess.

Edwards, on the other hand, is a flat-out dawg. Built like a linebacker, his ability to go blow for blow with the best athletes on the planet cannot be overstated. Battling in the post, boxing out, and winning at the point of attack, Edwards did it all defensively in the second half for the Wolves. Not only did he manage to shut down Jaren Jackson Jr., but he also found a way to will the Timberwolves to a gutsy, gritty win for their third straight.