MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves took a historic step after a monumental Game 7 win over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. That road win propelled the Wolves to just their second Western Conference Finals berth in franchise history. After that historic win, Anthony Edwards shared a bit of Minnesota’s gameplan going into the next series with the Dallas Mavericks.

Edwards spoiled his defensive matchup stating, “My matchup going to be Kyrie” during his postgame television interview. While Edwards sharing the matchup might not have hurt Minnesota, Dallas made it clear they could take advantage of that matchup early on in Game 1. In fact, Kyrie Irving was phenomenal all night long for the Mavs who stole Game 1 in Minneapolis.

Irving finished with a strong 30-point performance on remarkable 12-23 shooting. He and Luka Doncic stole the show finishing as the two game-high scorers carrying Dallas past the finish line in the series opener. Postgame, Kyrie Irving shared his thoughts on Edwards’ quote at the end of the Denver series.

Kyrie Irving shows love to Anthony Edwards

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves during game one of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

With how Anthony Edwards carries himself, it’s clear the 22-year-old superstar does not lack confidence. That unwavering inner belief has garnered Ant-Man a lot of support, both from fans and his peers. The veteran Irving himself was quick to share the admiration he has for Edwards.

“As a peer, man, I love that. It’s nothing better. When Ant was a little younger, I’m sure he was watching me and when he was in high school I was watching him. For me, it’s more of those exciting matchups that I look forward to… and that no-fear mentality that he has is why I love him…”

When Irving was speaking with Charles Barkley on the TNT broadcast, he shared the motivation it gave him coming into Game 1.

“I used it as motivation. When I was sitting at home and I saw it, I was like, ‘that’s just a nod of respect’. Also, I just knew what type of game it was going to be.”

Irving dominated Edwards in the Timberwolves-Mavericks opener

The Mavericks guard didn’t let that motivation fail him. Irving quickly got going as he raced to a game-best 24 points in the first half including an exhilarating and-1 finish in traffic to close out the second quarter. Irving shot an astounding 11-14 from the floor through the first 24 minutes of game time.

Five of those 14 shot attempts were with Anthony Edwards as the primary defender. Of those five attempts, Irving connected on four of them. Even when Kyrie happened to miss, it wasn’t as a result of the defense. Irving got everything and everywhere he wanted on Wednesday night. While the former NBA champion slowed down a bit in the second half, he proved more than ready to take on Edwards.

Irving’s postseason experience is pivotal in this series matchup. With both teams relatively young and mostly lacking deep postseason success, it’s clear that Kyrie’s past playoff runs came in handy. With the lights bright for the Western Conference Finals, Irving came in and delivered a classic performance against Edwards and the Timberwolves. Minnesota will go back to the drawing board before Game 2 with hopes of evening back up the series before heading out to Dallas.