MINNEAPOLIS — Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets delivered the type of decent performance that’s a prerequisite for lasting long. NBA Playoffs.
The Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t there yet.
Jokic had his seventh career triple-double of the playoffs with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists and took a 3-0 lead in the first-round series with a 120-111 win over the Timberwolves on Friday night.
said Jokic, the two-time reigning NBA MVP who led the league with 29 triple-doubles this season.
Michael Porter Jr. had 25 points and nine rebounds and Jamal Murray added 18 points and nine assists as Denver withstood another gutsy game from Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards and sent a large crowd of white-shirted fans home from another frustrating postseason loss.
“Proud of the team,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “They handled their business the way they wanted to, like mature teams.”
Edwards scored 36 points to raise his series total to 95, Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points after scoring just 21 points in the first two games and Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolves, but here a defensive lapse and a rushed 3-pointer for these Nuggets. It was enough to seal their fate against the team, finally healthy enough to make another run at the NBA Finals.
“Our decision making on offense let us down,” coach Chris Finch said.
Bruce Brown scored 12 points to lead Denver’s 29-10 edge in bench points, and the Nuggets shot a tough 57% from the field.
Game 4 is on Sunday.
“No disrespect to the T-Wolves, this is about us, but we don’t want to go back to Denver,” Malone said.
Nuggets hold their first 2-0 lead In nine playoff series under Malone, their A message from the trainer Keeping the throttle full and not giving the trailing Wolves any extra confidence.
The The best team in the Western Conference Its sow shot dependent on it and outstripped the wolves for every long reset. The Nuggets went on two 9-0 runs in the first half and made 12 of their first 16 shots in the second quarter to take a 13-point lead.
Edwards had a franchise playoff record 41 points in Game 2. Brought back the wolves Only players like him are capable of Starburst.
After Downs’ poor pass was picked off by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Edwards hustled for a block and quickly switched to a Euro-step formation at the other end. The Wolves kept the momentum going and cut the lead to 61-55 before halftime. They were within six points at the end of the third quarter.
Wolves They won the game they were playing Here’s the unlikely big-man pairing they formed a week ago on the back of Towns and Gobert when former Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly took the same job in Minnesota and made a blockbuster trade for Gobert.
The Wolves attacked the basket better than they had in the first two games, and Towns drew Jokic’s fourth foul with 5:51 left in the third quarter, but the 7-foot Serbian was too skilled — and overloaded — to hit that way.
“The offense looks a little different when ‘Jock’ isn’t out there, but we’re working on it,” Porter said. “We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things.”
Asked before the game about Jokic’s impact on Murray and his shot placement, Finch took a subtle swipe at how he feels as an official at Jokic — who has committed 14 fouls in the series.
“He’s good at screening and moving and screening at the same time,” Finch said in his best deadpan.
Gobert made light of Finch’s allegations of illegal screenings with Utah during his introductory news conference last summer.
Nuggets: Caldwell-Pope scored 11 of his 14 points in the second quarter. … Murray, who went 10-for-20 from deep in the first two games, was 1-for-6.
Timberwolves: Downs went 8 for 27 from the field in the first two games, going 10 for 17. He is 5 of 16 from 3-point range in the series.
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