Timberwolves Dominate Nuggets to Force Game 7: Anthony Edwards Leads the Charge
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards sparked a resounding 115-70 triumph for the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, tallying 27 points and dragging his team out of a mid-series slump to force a decisive Game 7 in this unpredictable playoff series.

Jaden McDaniels contributed 21 points and showcased stellar defense, while Mike Conley, returning from injury, added 13 points. The Timberwolves’ big men, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Naz Reid, dominated the boards with a combined 38 rebounds, limiting NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to a modest 22 points.

The winner-takes-all game for a spot in the Western Conference finals is set for Sunday night in Denver.

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Jamal Murray had another tough night, managing only 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting for the Nuggets. Denver’s bench was outplayed, scoring just 9 points compared to the Wolves’ reserves who led a 24-0 run in the fourth quarter, extending the lead to an astonishing 49 points. This run followed a 20-0 surge by the starters in the first quarter.

Aaron Gordon added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just 7 of 36 three-pointers and trailing by at least 17 points for the final 31 minutes of the game.

McDaniels, typically a secondary offensive option, played a crucial role this time, hitting 3 of 5 from deep and delivering timely dunks to energize the crowd. Edwards, after his 44-point effort in a Game 4 loss at Target Center, looked determined to keep the series alive. He scored nine points during the 20-0 run and finished the first half with 19 points on nine shots.

In the third quarter, Edwards turned a steal into a fast break, using two crossovers to leave Michael Porter Jr. behind and finish with a dunk. Shortly after, he drove past Porter again, drew a foul, and landed hard on his back. A timeout allowed Edwards to recover, and as he returned to the court, the crowd erupted in “MVP!” chants.

As the game neared its end and the Timberwolves prepared to empty the bench, Edwards held up seven fingers to the cheering fans, signaling his anticipation for Game 7.

Conley’s return from a calf injury was pivotal in maintaining the Wolves’ offensive rhythm, which had faltered in Game 5 in his absence. The Timberwolves’ defense was impenetrable, holding the Nuggets to 14 points in the first quarter, matching the second-lowest total in this postseason, a mark only surpassed by Miami’s 12 points against Boston in the first round.

Murray struggled against McDaniels and the rejuvenated Timberwolves defense, trying various shots from leaners to spot-up threes, even missing a finger roll from the baseline. On the next possession, Naz Reid backed down Murray for a flip-in, pushing the Wolves ahead 43-24.

McDaniels’ tip-in of a missed Reid three-pointer at the halftime buzzer made it 59-40, a stark contrast to Murray’s 55-foot shot at the end of the second quarter in Game 3, which capped an 8-0 run in those crucial 20 seconds.

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