NBA playoffs

Road team wins again as Jokic, Nuggets knock off Timberwolves to tie series


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Road team wins again as Jokic, Nuggets knock off Timberwolves to tie series

JOKER. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) works around Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (32) in the third quarter of game four of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center.

Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

After dropping the first two games of the series in Denver, defending champion Nuggets beat the Timberwolves twice in Minnesota to pull even at 2-2

Nikola Jokic finished with 35 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as the Denver Nuggets held on for a 115-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series in Minneapolis on Sunday, May 12 (Monday, May 13, Manila time).

Aaron Gordon scored 27 points on 11-for-12 shooting for Denver, which pulled even at 2-2 in the best-of-seven set. Jamal Murray scored 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting and Christian Braun chipped in 11 points off the bench.

“We never thought this would be a short series. We thought it was going to be a long one,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said, adding that his team needs “to go back to guarding (Gordon) a little more honestly.”

Anthony Edwards led all scorers with 44 points on 16-for-25 shooting for Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns added 13 points and 12 rebounds and Rudy Gobert notched 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Denver shot 57% (45 of 79) from the field and 44.8% (13 of 29) from beyond the arc. Minnesota shot 47.6% (39 of 82) overall and 39.3% (11 of 28) from three-point range.

“Never underestimate the heart of a champion. They were quick to write us off, but these guys, we won a championship a year ago. You know what I mean?” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of his team, which lost the first two games in Denver. “This team has been tested time and time again, and we’ve found a way to solve whatever has been thrown at us.”

The Timberwolves trailed throughout the second half but went on an 8-2 run to pull within 6 points in the final minute. Mike Conley capped the burst with a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 113-107 with 28.3 seconds to go. That prompted a timeout by Malone.

Jokic drove in for a layup on the next possession to push the lead to 8 points.

Conley missed a three-pointer on the next possession, and Jokic dribbled the ball as time expired to seal the victory for the Nuggets. The road team has won each game in the series.

Malone added, “This series is a long way from being over. We’re not celebrating. It’s 2-2, so now you have to find a way to win Game 5. But what I’ve found about our group is that they do believe in themselves, and more importantly, they believe in the man next to them. We have a group that is acting as you would hope a championship team would act.”

Murray gave Denver a 17-point advantage when he made a basket with 1:49 to go in the third quarter, but Naz Reid and Edwards combined to score 6 points in the final 96 seconds of the quarter to pull the Timberwolves within 11 points going into the fourth quarter.

The sequence included another powerful statement from Edwards, who drove past Murray and leaped over Justin Holiday for an emphatic dunk.

Denver stood strong as the Timberwolves looked to mount a fourth-quarter run. Conley cut Minnesota’s deficit to 9 when he made a floating jump shot early in the fourth quarter, but Jokic responded by scoring the next 6 points.

The Nuggets led 64-49 at the half. –

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