NBA playoffs: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets cruise to blowout win over Timberwolves in Game 3

Nikola Jokic and the defending champions aren’t going to roll over and call it.

Jokic and the Denver Nuggets came out firing Friday night in Minneapolis after a brutal start to the Western Conference semifinals. They dominated Game 3 against the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-90. The win finally put them in the series after slipping through the first two games at Ball Arena in Denver. It handed the Timberwolves their first loss of the postseason, completely stunning the sellout crowd at Target Center.

After a tight first quarter, the Nuggets ended the period with an eight-point lead in a quick 12-4 burst at halftime. At the time, it was Denver’s largest lead of the series.

From there, Denver took off. The Nuggets opened the second period on a 17-5 run, and they took a 20-point lead after Christian Brown drilled a 3-pointer in the quarter. As it was, the Timberwolves almost pulled out of it.

The Nuggets held Minnesota to just 21 points in the second quarter, which gave them a 15-point lead at halftime. Karl-Anthony Towns was the only Timberwolves player to reach double figures after hitting four 3-pointers in the first half. Jamaal Murray scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half for Denver after his rough ejection in Game 2 — which resulted in a $100,000 fine from the league. The Nuggets dominated the first 24 minutes.

After Aaron Gordon hit a pair of 3-pointers, the Nuggets pushed their lead past 20 points. For good. The Nuggets pushed their lead to 27 points at the end of the third quarter and then had no problem closing out the 27-point victory.

See also  A DUP deal has been published that aims to restore devolution in Northern Ireland

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 19 points. Downs finished with 14 points, and Mike Conley added 10 points, six assists and six rebounds. Minnesota went just 9 of 27 from the 3-point line. Frustration eventually boiled over, and Nickil Alexander-Walker was ejected from the game in the final minutes after an altercation with officials.

Jokic led the Nuggets just shy of a triple-double. He had 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Murray had four assists and four rebounds to go with his 24 points, and Porter finished with 21 points. The Nuggets shot nearly 54% from the field as a team and just shy of 49% from behind the arc.

Friday’s game completely got away from the Timberwolves. Although they still have the edge in the series, Sunday’s Game 4 is now crucial for a team that hasn’t reached the Western Conference Finals in two decades. If they have to go to Denver in a 2-2 tie next week, it will truly be anyone’s series winner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *