HomeSportsDenver makes a statement with a 27-point win at Minnesota, behind 24...

Denver makes a statement with a 27-point win at Minnesota, behind 24 points over Murray

2024 NBA Playoffs: Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

What was most shocking about Tuesday night — when Minnesota took a 2-0 lead against the defending champions in their second-round match — wasn’t that Denver lost, but that they lost their cool in the process.

On Friday night we saw the defending champion Nuggets who we expected to see this series. The ones with pride. Those who seemingly don’t suffer from pressure. Denver was locked in defensively, the ball was popping and moving on offense, and Jamal Murray scored 24 points and showed no signs of the injury that slowed him in the first two games of the series.

The result was a 117-90 Denver victory in Minnesota that was never really in doubt after the middle of the second quarter, taking away some of the Timberwolves’ “team of destiny” aura. Minnesota still leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 Sunday in Minnesota.

“I liked that they hit tonight, we didn’t hit back,” Anthony Edwards said in the Minnesota locker room. “That’s the thing, that’s fun, you love to compete. It’s going to be a very competitive Sunday, we’ll be there for it.”

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It wasn’t very competitive on Friday night.

Denver did a good job creating the desperation needed in a must-win game. Minnesota fans booed Jamal Murray every time he touched the ball, and he responded like a champ.

“It just makes you better, honestly, because you have to respond,” Murray said, via the Associated Press. “It just makes you have to lock in and be there for your teammates.”

Everything for Denver starts with newly minted three-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who had 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Denver also got a big game from Michael Porter Jr., who scored 21 points.

Most important, however, was the ball and player movement that the Championship Nuggets are known for. Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert returned from the birth of his child but was essentially a non-factor because of how well Denver moved the ball and kept him off balance.

Edwards finished with 19 points to lead the Wolves, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 14.

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The Timberwolves played like champions through their first six playoff games this season, but true champions know how to respond to adversity. Deventer did that.

Can Minnesota answer on Sunday?

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