Minnesota had yet to lose three games straight all season.

Unit Tuesday.

With the series shifting back to Denver and the Nuggets carrying all the momentum after taking games three and four in Minnesota, they put forth a professional performance as they went one step closer to defending their title. Nikola Jokic scored 40 points along with 13 assists as his strong offensive play bewildered the best statistical defense in the NBA over the regular season. Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns did a nice job early in the series against the Serbian, but Jokic played like the MVP last night as he put together his best performance of the playoffs. Four other Nuggets players went for double figures, and the balanced offensive attack led to their first win at home against Minnesota.

Both teams traded jabs at the beginning of the game, as each team knew how pivotal game five was. Minnesota started scorching from deep, shooting 4-5 from three, running stride for stride with Denver. However, the Timberwolves could not keep up that pace from long range, and their offense stagnated in the second. Chris Finch‘s club only mustered 18 points in the ensuing quarter as their points disappeared beyond the arc. The Timberwolves finished shooting 4-21 from three after knocking down four of their first five. Considering Denver does not take many threes, a low-scoring, half-court game fit their style of play, and they felt confident going into halftime with a 50-44 lead.

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!

A week of sports news in your in-box.
We find the sports news you need to know, so you don't have to.

With the game being played at the Nuggets pace, Jokic took over in the third. He scored 16 points in the quarter and assisted on ten more as Denver dropped a 38-point barrage on the Timberwolves, taking a 14-point lead into the fourth. Minnesota star Anthony Edwards did his best to keep pace, scoring half of his points in the third, but it would not be enough. Edwards finished with just five made shots on the night as he cooled off from his blistering start to the series. He will need to regain his usual form if Minnesota can win two games in a row against the defending champions.

The Timberwolves did not quit to start the final frame and cut the lead to ten after a Naz Reid dunk with nine minutes to go, pressuring the Nuggets to call timeout.

Denver threw their knockout punch right after.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s back-to-back threes ignited the Ball Center crowd before a Jokic dunk sent the arena into a frenzy, forcing Finch to call for a stoppage. The Nuggets went on an 8-0 run in 90 seconds and put the game to rest, as Minnesota could only get within 11 before Denver put the finishing touches on a 112-97 victory.

The Nuggets returned to their old ways after falling behind 2-0 in the series. Their efficiency on offense makes it challenging for Minnesota to match their production, and Jokic’s ability to find the open man on almost every possession has begun to frustrate the Timberwolves’ defense. Minnesota can make one last stand on their home floor Thursday night as they look to force a game seven back in Denver.

Read more about:

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!