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Edwards tries to do too much late in Timberwolves’ loss to Celtics

BOSTON – After the Timberwolves faltered down the stretch of their loss to the Mavericks on Sunday night, Anthony Edwards said he didn't shoot enough in the final moments of the game to help the Wolves stave off a Dallas comeback.

"I feel like once again I left bullets in the chamber," Edwards said then. "But I'll take this one, for sure. I gotta be aggressive down the stretch."

Edwards tried to take that approach in Wednesday night's 127-120 loss to the Boston Celtics. He had the ball in his hand a lot, and it didn't prevent another Wolves collapse from happening. To coach Chris Finch, the team's late-game offense, which could have used the services of resting point guard Mike Conley, was too reminiscent of last season's team, which relied heavily on Edwards to make something out of nothing.

"This is how we closed games last year, and it didn't really work for us," Finch said. "We've been good because we've been able to mix in a lot of different things to close games."

Edwards committed a turnover with 3 minutes, 6 seconds remaining. Missed two shots at 2:38 and 2:13. The one positive play was when he drew a foul with 8.5 seconds left and hit the free throws to tie the score. But in overtime, the problem reappeared. A turnover at 4:16, a missed jumper at 3:08 and a turnover with the Wolves down two with 56.1 seconds left.

For the season, the Wolves are still the top clutch-time team in the league. Their 11-4 record in clutch scenarios, which the NBA defines as a game that is within five points in the last five minutes, is the best in the league. Edwards has had a lot to do with that. There have been times he has made clutch shots and made the right pass at the right moment. But the last two Wolves losses serve as reminders for where he can still improve and be more consistent.

"This is all part of the growth curve, all part of learning," Finch said. "You can't be wired to try and score in these moments; you got to be wired to make the right play. You know they're gonna load up against you. You can't bleed the clock unnecessarily because when they do come to trap you, we need time at the end of it to move it. These are all things that we're harping on."

Edwards declined to speak with the media Wednesday, saying he didn't want to incur the wrath of the league office for criticizing the officiating. He finished with 29 points, six rebounds, three assists and five turnovers. When the Wolves did score late in the fourth and overtime, they did it off actions for Karl-Anthony Towns, who hit a pair of threes in overtime, and another three off ball movement for Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Otherwise, Finch wasn't thrilled with their execution.

"Just too much iso [isolation], too much iso against a really good defense," Finch said. "We built a lead and we were, for the most part, through the entire game, playing with good movement and moving the ball."

The Wolves could have used Conley, because that left Edwards to his own devices on Wednesday, and his worst instincts took over at inopportune times.

Minnesota is home for five of its next six, starting with Friday night's game against Portland at Target Center.