HomeSportsNBA Playoffs: Timberwolves run over Nuggets to force Game 7

NBA Playoffs: Timberwolves run over Nuggets to force Game 7

Anthony Edwards wanted Game 7. He got it. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves gave us a Game 7.

The Timberwolves harnessed the defensive prowess that made them the stingiest team in the NBA during the regular season and blew out the Denver Nuggets 115-70 in Game 6 on Thursday to keep their season alive. Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday in Denver (time to be determined).

The margin of victory was the second largest by an eliminated team in NBA history.

Anthony Edwards, who powered the win with 27 points, looked ready for the first Game 7 of his career. Minnesota beat the Nuggets by 43 while on the floor, a franchise playoff record.

The entire game was a stunning reversal of momentum in the series. The Nuggets entered Thursday having won their last three games and looked most impressive in a Game 5 blowout. The Timberwolves needed a lift and got it from a raucous Target Center crowd.

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That audience got what it wanted early. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, the Timberwolves went on a 27-2 run to build a lead that would never fall below double digits. The game wasn’t over yet, but the Nuggets trailed for the first time since their lopsided losses in Games 1 and 2.

Denver tried to adjust with a lineup change to start the second quarter. Normally league MVP Nikola Jokić gets his rest by sitting on the bench to start the second and fourth quarters, but he was there when the action resumed. The move paid off in the short term, narrowing the 17-point lead to 11 at the start of the frame.

The Timberwolves responded with a 13-0 run to take back control, closing the half with a buzzer beater from Jaden McDaniels.

The lead never fell below 19 points in the second half, but the Timberwolves saw a different kind of scare late in the third quarter when Edwards went down hard after a foul. He remained face down on the field and virtually motionless for more than a minute, but remained in the game and did not seem particularly bothered.

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Minutes later, with their team up 24-0 and extending the lead to 49, the Timberwolves crowd sang “Wolves in seven.”

The Timberwolves will find themselves in a different atmosphere on Sunday.

As impressive as it looked Thursday, Minnesota is entering the home of a defending champion and the league’s MVP. The Nuggets have already shown this series that they can bounce back from a disheartening loss, having gone from a 26-point defeat in Game 2 to a 27-point victory in Game 3.

It will be a hostile crowd in Denver against a team with better playoff experience, in a series defined by wild swings of fortune. The Timberwolves obviously shouldn’t regret beating the Nuggets by 45, but they should know full well that Game 6’s performance won’t mean much when the ball is tipped again.

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