Home Sports NBA playoffs: Timberwolves rally from 20-point deficit to stun Nuggets in Game 7, reach conference finals

NBA playoffs: Timberwolves rally from 20-point deficit to stun Nuggets in Game 7, reach conference finals

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Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves will now face the Mavericks in the Western Conference finals

Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets were ready to close out their series without much trouble on Sunday night.

After all, they had built up a 20-point lead in the second half and, after all, had largely shut down Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards. Yet somehow, despite what was a largely terrible offensive performance in the first 24 minutes, the Timberwolves pulled off the largest halftime comeback in a Game 7 in NBA history.

The Timberwolves came back to upset the defending champions for a 98-90 victory in Game 7 of their semifinal series at Ball Arena on Sunday night. They outscored the Nuggets 60-37 in the second half while completing a wild 30-point swing.

The victory officially sends the Timberwolves to their first Western Conference final in two decades. The Timberwolves are also now a perfect 2-0 in their seventh game ever.

“It’s a special moment,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said after the game. “It’s an incredible team with the best player on the planet, and this series was crazy. “This game was a microcosm of the series.”

After a very slow and defensive start to the game (both teams combined to shoot just 6 of 24 from the field to open the night), the Nuggets finally took off before halftime. They finished with an 18-3 run at the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second and took complete control of the game. They held the Timberwolves without a field goal for more than five full minutes during that stretch, and then held them scoreless for the final two minutes of the half to take a 15-point lead into halftime.

Jokić also had a 15-rebound double-double at the time, while Edwards shot just 1 of 7 from the field.

But somehow, after being stagnant offensively for most of the game, the Timberwolves came alive in the third quarter. After falling by 20 points almost immediately, they went on a 19-3 run and held the Nuggets without a field goal for more than six full minutes. They ended up missing 13 of their last 16 shots at the end of the third quarter.

Edwards, despite a brutal stretch of shooting to start the game, hit a wild 3-pointer over Aaron Gordon to cut the deficit to just one point at the end of the period. That capped a 28-9 run.

The Timberwolves didn’t stop there either. They stayed one step ahead of the Nuggets well into the fourth quarter. Rudy Gobert even hit a jumper early in the period.

Then Naz Reid appeared to close out the night. He performed a ridiculous dunk on Jokić in the final minutes to put the Timberwolves up by seven before setting up Anthony Edwards for a fastbreak 3-pointer just seconds later. Thus, a 30-point turnaround was completed and the Timberwolves were in complete control of the game.

Although the Nuggets did not disappear, the Timberwolves held on in the final minute to officially seal the eight-point victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the victory. Edwards scored 16 points, all but four of which came in the second half, and eight rebounds and seven assists. He was just 6 of 24 from the field and 2 of 10 from the 3-point line. Jayden McDaniels finished with 21 points. The Timberwolves shot just 10 of 34 from behind the arc as a team and less than 40% from the field as a unit as well.

Jokić finished with 34 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists. He shot just 2 of 10 from behind the arc. Murray finished with 35 points after going 4 of 11 from behind the arc. The duo were the only Nuggets players to reach double figures that night.

Now that they have defeated the Nuggets, the Timberwolves will advance to the Western Conference finals, where Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks await.

The Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in their semifinal series Saturday night in Dallas. Dončić recorded his third consecutive triple-double while leading the Mavericks to a 4-2 series victory, which officially eliminated the Western Conference’s top seed. The Mavericks are now in their second conference finals in the last three seasons.

The first game of the Western Conference finals is scheduled for Wednesday night in Minneapolis. It will be the Timberwolves’ second appearance in the conference finals. They lost in the 2004 series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

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