Emotional Patrick Beverley leads the celebration as Minnesota Timberwolves beat LA Clippers to advance to playoffs

MINNEAPOLIS — Anthony Edwards and Patrick Beverley stood on the Target Center scorer’s table, shouting and celebrating in an ode to an iconic moment in Minnesota Timberwolves franchise history when Kevin Garnett stood on the table and celebrated the 2004 playoffs.

Shortly after jumping off the table, Beverley sat down on the Timberwolves bench and started sobbing in a flurry of emotion. It was deeply personal for Beverley. Not only did the veteran point guard feel the ecstasy of beating his former team, but he rejoiced in helping Minnesota clinch seventh place in the Western Conference playoffs with a 109-104 win over the LA Clippers on Tuesday. night.

Minnesota will face the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their playoff series on Saturday. This is the first playoff appearance for the Timberwolves since 2018.

“Man, I wanted this one so bad,” said Beverley, who hugged her mom, Lisa, on the court. “It’s just the icing on the cake, the icing on the cake. Play-in, so we can beat them…another scratched goal. I told you we were going to the playoffs. Most of us You, y’all looked at me like I was crazy when I first said that. I told you.

And he wasted no time in telling his former team – who knocked him out in August – how he felt. The Clippers had sent Beverley to Memphis, with the Grizzlies in turn trading him to Minnesota, which gave him the contract extension he sought in February.

After forcing a late turnover, Beverley celebrated in front of the Clippers bench, letting out a primitive scream before pulling and pointing to his Minnesota jersey.

“Bring ’em home,” Beverley said of what he said to his former teammates at the end. “Long flight to LA Bring them home. It’s deeper than that for me. I gave my blood, my sweat and my tears to this organization. You know the story.

“Blood and sweat and tears, to just be written off like that, ‘He’s injury prone. He’s old.’ This, this, that, that. To be able to come in here and play them in a play-in and beat their asses, no other feeling, man. No other feeling.

Beverley fulfilled a vow he made when presented to the Minnesota media in September that he would lead Wolves to the playoffs. On Tuesday night, he helped the franchise secure just its second trip to the playoffs since Garnett stood on the same table after leading Wolves to the Western Conference Finals in 2004.

And Beverley did it against his old team. The point guard – who had seven points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday – spent four seasons with the Clippers and helped the team transition from the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan era to its current lineup with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Beverley helped establish the Clippers’ current identity of hard work and their next man mentality.

In Minneapolis, Beverley’s rambling bustle, uncompromising defense and bravado left a mark on a young and impressionable roster.

“They’ve got guys that are a little bit more confident,” George said after scoring 34 points for the Clippers, who will now face playoff winner San Antonio Spurs-New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth seed. “His energy and personality, you know, rubbed off, it impacted this list.

“I know what was going on in this game. I wasn’t going to allow Pat to do his antics and try to piss me off. I knew it was all for show. It’s for the crowd. Involves the crowd. I love it. He did it on our side because it’s contagious. I think when he’s in that mode, it ignites the team, ignites the arena. You need energy guys like that.”

Minnesota overcame several challenges to beat the Clippers. LA led by 10 with 8:54 remaining in the game, and Karl-Anthony Towns, frustrated with foul issues the entire game, was fouled with 7:34 left after scoring only 11 stitches.

But Edwards scored nine of his 30 points after that 10-point deficit, and D’Angelo Russell hit some big 3-pointers in the final four minutes before finishing with 29 points to help Minnesota win with a run of 21-5.

“I took what the game gave me,” said Edwards, who will be playing in his first playoff series. “And that’s what they gave me.

“They were afraid to keep me, and I took advantage of that.”

Wolves celebrated on their home pitch as if they had won a playoff series. And the fans took advantage of it. After all, the franchise has lost an average of 46 games over the past three seasons.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s been on my mind ever since I thought we were playing them,” Edwards said of standing on the table like Garnett. “I went to sleep [and] saying I’m going to hit the winning shot and I’m going to jump on the table.”

Beverley and Wolves will then face Ja Morant and Memphis. But they were going to savor that playoff spot first.

“I told you, Ant,” Beverley told Edwards. “They didn’t believe me. We were going to the playoffs, baby. They looked at me like I was crazy. They said, ‘Pat, you’re crazy!'”