Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Wolves eliminate defending NBA champion Nuggets

AP – Anthony Edwards overcame a slow start and the Timberwolves roared back from a 20-point second-half deficit to eliminate the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets 98-90 in a game seven Minnesota masterpiece yesterday.

The Timberwolves overcame a 15-point halftime deficit – the largest comeback in a game seven in NBA playoff history – behind Edwards, who had just four points, no rebounds and three assists at halftime but finished with 16 points, eight boards and seven assists.

His impact belied his six-of-24 shooting that included a two-for-ten three-point performance.

“It was tough, man, because I couldn’t find myself, my rhythm tonight,” Edwards said. “So I just had to trust my teammates. I just had to make the right plays throughout the rest of the game. I did that and my teammates made shots. Big shout-out to those guys”.

As Minnesota took control late, over and over Edwards denied Jamal Murray, who had 24 points by halftime and finished with 35.

“There’s more ways to win the basketball game when you’re just not an offensive player,” Edwards said. “I’m not one-dimensional. I’m not just a guy who can score. I’m a guy who – whoever their best guard is, I can go lock him down. I feel like I did that on Jamal in the fourth quarter – in the third quarter and fourth quarter – and that’s what turned the game around.”

As the seconds ticked away, Edwards dribbled the ball up-court and took time to wave good-bye to the stunned crowd at Ball Arena, where the Nuggets’ 33-eight record this season was second-best in the league but where the Wolves won three times this series.

The Wolves, who got 23 points each from Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels, advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in exactly 20 years. They’ll face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday at Target Centre.

“It feels great,” Wolves centre Rudy Gobert said. “Beating a team like they are, an incredible team, a championship team, with the best player in the world, it feels good.”

Behind Murray’s fantastic start, the Nuggets raced to a 53-38 halftime lead and Murray’s three-pointer with 10:50 left in the third pushed Denver’s lead to 58-38.

Minnesota Timberwolves centre Karl-Anthony Towns looks to drive to the basket as Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray and forward Aaron Gordon defend in Denver. PHOTO: AP