Canada’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker sets playoff career-high in Game 1 vs. Suns

Anthony Edwards went off for a game-high 33 points and grabbed nine boards to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 120-95 victory against the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the series.

In a game that featured stars such as Anthony Edwards, Kevin Durant, and Devin Booker, Canadian Nickeil Alexander-Walker found a way to fit right in.

The 25-year-old from Toronto put up a playoff career-high 18 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves easily took care of the Phoenix Suns, 120-95, in Game 1 of their first-round series on Saturday.

Despite coming off the bench and playing just 29 minutes, he ended up tying Booker as the fourth-highest scorer in the contest on Saturday, finishing as a game-high plus-28. His four steals off the pine were also a franchise playoff record for Minnesota.

“He was a plus-28 on the floor,” Edwards said with a grin when asked post-game about the impact Alexander-Walker had on the win. “I think he was the MVP tonight, he made every play that we needed, offensively and defensively.”

Known as a quality defender for quite some time, his offensive game took a step forward this season, specifically from beyond the arc. Alexander-Walker had his most impactful three-point shooting season in terms of volume (1.6 makes) and efficiency. (44 per cent). He took the sixth-most corner threes in the NBA this season and converted at a 45 per cent clip.

He’s grown into a reliable 3-and-D player, having played in all 82 games for Minnesota, sure to have more performances like this throughout the playoffs.

Fans of Canada Basketball are probably unsurprised by this kind of performance as they saw Alexander-Walker grow into his role with the bronze-medal-winning senior men’s team at the FIBA World Cup last summer.

The former 17th overall pick backed up his cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, providing much-needed depth for a guard rotation that ended up missing Jamal Murray.

Alexander-Walker and the Timberwolves will look to take a 2-0 series lead when they host the Suns on Tuesday.

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