The Denver Nuggets are proving why they are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets lead their first-round series over the Minnesota Timberwolves 2-0 after their 122-113 win on Wednesday night.
The Nuggets were up by as many as 21 points, but the Timberwolves outscored Denver 40-23 in the third quarter thanks to shooting 81% from the floor in the frame. Suddenly, Minnesota had a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
But Denver came out firing to begin the final 12 minutes. A four-point play on their first shot attempt kickstarted an 8-0 run, all eight of which were scored by Michael Porter Jr. Both teams exchanged buckets for the next several minutes, and Minnesota was even able to regain a one-point lead, but that’s as far as they would go.
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Upon Minnesota going up 99-98, the Nuggets answered with a 15-4 run to go up double digits once again. Every time Minnesota tried to spark a comeback, the Nuggets halted it quickly.
Oh, and Minnesota bettors, look away – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down two free throws to put Denver up nine with 11.0 seconds to go, and the Timberwolves turned the inbound pass over – the Nuggets covered the 8.5.
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Denver shot 59% from the floor in the fourth compared to Minnesota’s 41%.
Jamal Murray led the way with a 40-piece for the Nuggets (Anthony Edwards had 41 in a losing effort), as Nikola Jokic added 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Porter scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth.
It was a disappointing night for Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting – in the regular season, he put up 20.8 per night on 49.5% from the floor.
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The series now moves to Minnesota for the next two games.