Wolves rally from down 20, oust Nuggets in Game 7

May 20, 2024 4:17 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 12 rebounds and the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 20-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Denver Nuggets 98-90 in Game 7 of a Western Conference semifinal series.

Minnesota is headed to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years after winning in Denver for the third time in the series. The Timberwolves won Game 7 against the Sacramento Kings in a second-round playoff series in 2004 to reach the conference finals.

Minnesota, the No. 3 seed, faces the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

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Jaden McDaniels also scored 23 points and Anthony Edwards was 6-for-24 shooting but finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to end the Nuggets’ bid for a second straight NBA title. Rudy Gobert was big down the stretch, scoring eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Nikola Jokic had 34 points and 19 rebounds and Jamal Murray scored 35 points for Denver. It is the second time in six seasons the Nuggets have lost a Game 7 at home.

Minnesota took its first lead since the first quarter on Gobert’s floater 12 seconds into the fourth, and it later found itself up 77-72 after two Gobert free throws with 8:23 to go. Jokic missed his first seven 3-pointers of the game but hit two shots from deep to keep the Nuggets close, pulling them within 81-78 with 6:46 remaining.

Naz Reid, who scored 11 points, hit two free throws, blocked Jokic’s fadeaway and had a putback dunk later in the fourth. Edwards drained a 3-pointer off a Murray turnover to put the Timberwolves ahead 92-82 with 3:07 left.

Denver closed within 93-88 with 1:02 left, but Towns’ dunk sealed Minnesota’s trip to the conference finals.

The Nuggets staged a 16-0 run bridging the first and second quarters and led 53-38 at halftime. They pushed their advantage to 58-38 with 10:50 remaining in the third quarter, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a 17-footer that would have made it a 22-point lead.

The Timberwolves came storming back, using a 19-3 run to get within 61-57 with 3:05 left in the period. Towns then hit a pair of free throws to get Minnesota within two, and Edwards drained a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds to go to make it 67-66 Denver heading into the fourth.