NBA: Timberwolves Rally To Beat Nuggets In Game 7

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The visiting Minnesota Timberwolves rallied in the second half to wipe out a 20-point deficit as they beat the Denver Nuggets 98-90 in Game 7 of NBA’s Western Conference semifinal series, at the Ball Arena in Denver, USA.

The Timberwolves are headed to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years after winning in Denver for the third time in the series. The No. 3 seed will face the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

The Nuggets staged a 16-0 run bridging the first and second quarters and led 53-38 at halftime. They pushed their advantage to 58-38 with 10:50 remaining in the third quarter and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a 17-footer that would have made it a 22-point lead.

The Timberwolves came storming back, using a 19-3 run to get within 61-57 with 3:05 left in the period. Karl-Anthony Towns then hit a pair of free throws to get Minnesota within two and Anthony Edwards drained a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds to go to make it 67-66 Denver heading into the fourth.

Minnesota took its first lead since the first quarter on Rudy Gobert’s floater 12 seconds into the fourth and it later found itself up 77-72 after two Gobert free throws with 8:23 to go. Jokic missed his first seven 3-pointers of the game but hit two shots from deep to keep the Nuggets close, pulling them within 81-78 with 6:46 remaining.

Naz Reid, who scored 11 points, hit two free throws, blocked Jokic’s fadeaway and had a putback dunk later in the fourth. Edwards drained a 3-pointer off a Murray turnover to put the Timberwolves ahead 92-82 with 3:07 left.

Denver closed within 93-88 with 1:02 left, but Towns’ dunk sealed Minnesota’s trip to the conference finals.

“I’ve been here nine years. I’ve talked about wanting to win and do something special here with this organisation,” Towns said. “I’ve seen everything and seen it all and being here this year, with these guys, this team, after all that, it’s super special.”

Towns had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Jaden McDaniels also scored 23 for Minnesota. Anthony Edwards was 6-for-24 shooting but finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to end the Nuggets’ bid for a second straight NBA title. Gobert was big down the stretch, scoring eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Nikola Jokic had 34 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists, and Jamal Murray scored 35 points for Denver. It is the second time in six seasons the Nuggets have lost a Game 7 at home. They are the fifth straight reigning champion to exit the playoffs before the conference finals.

“It’s hard because the teams are hungrier, better talented than last year probably,” Jokic said. “Everybody got better, everybody wants to beat us. That’s my thought process.”

Source Reuters NBA Motion Station

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