The Denver Nuggets had to throw the kitchen sink at the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5, but it was worth it as they won, 112-109, to win the series and move on to the next round.
The Nuggets will now await the winner of the No. 4 Phoenix Suns and No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers series, where the Suns are up 3-1.
Desperation was high for the Timberwolves and that was apparent all game long, as they weren’t going out without a fight. The game was tied 102 apiece with 1:46 left to go in the fourth quarter, and no team could pull away.
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That is until Nikola Jokic hit back-to-back shots to make it a 109-104 game. The first was a valiant effort, tipping the ball back twice on an original missed floater by him to give the Nuggets the slight edge. Then, he hit a patented four-foot hook shot following a miss from Anthony Edwards on the other end.
It was also an and-one opportunity after Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out of the game, and Jokic would hit it to give the Nuggets a five-point cushion. Towns left the game with 26 points on 9-of-17 from the field with 11 rebounds and three assists.
It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish and they move on to continue their journey toward the Finals.
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The Timberwolves didn’t lay down, though, with less than 30 seconds left. Mike Conley buried a 28-foot three to pull within two points. Edwards did the same with a seven-footer falling after Bruce Brown (14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists) brought the Nuggets back to a four-point lead.
They even had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime with 2.5 seconds left down three points. But Edwards’ shot missed and the Nuggets went into their celebration.
Jokic finished the game with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists for an impressive triple-double. He also had two steals and two blocks on the defensive end.
Jamal Murray also dropped 35 points to lead the Nuggets, which included 5-of-9 made three-pointers and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
For Minnesota, Edwards finished with 29 points on 13-of-26 from the field, though he missed all six of his three-point attempts. He also tallied eight rebounds and seven assists with two blocks on the other end.
Rudy Gobert fouled out for the Wolves as well, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds for a double-double.
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While the Nuggets move on, the Timberwolves will go back to the drawing board to see how they can push further into the playoffs next season.