Minnesota embarrasses Denver in 45-point route to force Game 7

Anthony Edwards is ready for the do-or-die Game 7 (yahoo.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The waxing-hot Minnesota Timberwolves refused to go home and destroyed the Denver Nuggets by 45 points, 115-70, to force a winner-take-all Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinals series in the ongoing NBA playoffs on May 17, 2024.

After losing three straight games that allowed the Nuggets to retake a 3-2 series lead, Minnesota finally gained some life when they halted their losing streak and did it in emphatic fashion in front of their energetic home fans.

However, the Timberwolves had to overcome another sluggish start when the Nuggets seized control, building a quick 9-2 lead in the first two minutes of the ball game.

After the quick Minnesota timeout, the Timberwolves suddenly turned the tides after countering with a momentum-snatching 22-0 offensive runt that immediately ballooned their lead to double digits.

It was a replica of their Game 2 win at Denver when they closed the first quarter on a high note, blitzing to a sizable double-digit lead that set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Nuggets punched back in the second quarter after several made baskets from reigning MVP Nikola Jokic got them to within just 13 points but another scoring snowball in the final six minutes of the period steered Minnesota to a 19-point lead at the half.

Minnesota maintained its much-improved perimeter defense and offensive execution in the second half as they adjusted their coverage on Jokic that slowed down Denver’s pace.

Unlike their past three losses where they let Rudy Gobert guard Jokic in isolation plays, the Timberwolves this time applied quick double teams in almost every possession he held.

The results favored Minnesota as Denver was forced to give up the leather and let the other players score. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, Jamal Murray, their second main gunner, had one of the worst shooting nights of his career after finishing the game with an inefficient 4/18 from the field.

It was a nightmare to remember for Denver as the final 12 minutes of the game turned into a lopsided affair after Minnesota limited them to just nine points in the fourth.

Anthony Edwards grabbed the limelight for the Timberwolves after bouncing back with 27 big points in just 33 minutes of playing time to go alongside four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s energy guy, Jaden McDaniels, had his best performance of the series after backstopping Edwards with 21 markers, four boards, two blocks, an assist, and a steal.

The returning Mike Conley also brought an immediate impact after missing the last game due to an injury and stuffed the stat sheets with 13 points, five assists, four boards, and a block.