Nuggets can’t finish rally in OT as T-Wolves avoid sweep
Apr 23, 2023, 9:48 PM
(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 34 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Denver Nuggets 114-108 in overtime in Game 4 to avoid elimination Sunday night.
Nikola Jokic tied a playoff career high with 43 points and added 11 rebounds and six assists for the Nuggets, who were looking for the four-game sweep.
Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 15 rebounds for Minnesota, which held on after Denver scored the final 12 points of regulation to force overtime. Mike Conley had 19 points for the Timberwolves.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Denver.
Jamal Murray finished with 19 points and Aaron Gordon 14 for Denver, which looked prime to have a chance to rest before the second round where it would face the winner of the Suns-Clippers series, which Phoenix leads 3-1.
Edwards, who put together several electrifying moments in his first All-Star season, resurrected Minnesota in the third as the Timberwolves went on a 23-9 run. Edwards scored 16 of his points in the quarter and the Timberwolves eventually led by 12 midway through the fourth.
Minnesota lost in the first round to Memphis last year, surrendering three double-digit, fourth-quarter leads.
This time, Jokic took another Wolves’ lead away.
The 21-year-old Edwards took a step forward this year while Towns missed 52 games with a calf strain. He took over the scoring load for Minnesota and was supported by his veteran teammates, who implored the athletic youngster to take control in games.
The Nuggets were pressed to a fifth game, but they still look like a team primed for a long playoff run. They also might have found an answer to their biggest issue: surviving when the two-time MVP Jokic isn’t on the floor.
With Gordon playing the backup center minutes, the Nuggets didn’t just survive, they outscored Minnesota without Jokic by six points.
Wild Nuggets-Timberwolves finish
Edwards drained a step-back jumper with 2:52 left in regulation that gave the Wolves a 96-84 lead, their largest of the game, and he smiled at the crowd as the Nuggets called timeout. Denver wasn’t done, though. Jokic hit the first of three straight 3-pointers, followed by a pair from Porter.
Conley tried to pass in the lane to Gobert, but the big man couldn’t grab it in traffic and the Nuggets turned the turnover into a jumper by Jokic that cut the lead to one point with 49 seconds left. Gobert was swarmed again on Minnesota’s next possession and had his shot blocked by Porter.
Jokic got fouled by Towns on the other end and made one of two free throws to tie the game with 12 seconds to go. Edwards had the ball at the end for the potential game-winner, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked it out of his hands before he could shoot.
Nuggets: The league’s best shooting team in the regular season, Denver shot just 44.2% from the field and was 12 of 35 from 3, its worst numbers of the series.
Timberwolves: Kyle Anderson was declared out with a left eye/facial contusion after taking an errant hand to the face from Edwards in the fourth. … Minnesota held a 22-12 advantage in bench scoring.