Jamal Murray scored 35 points, and Nikola Jokic had a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-109 in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night. The win eliminated the Timberwolves from the playoffs.
Anthony Edwards, who led Minnesota in scoring with 29 points, missed a three-point try at the buzzer from 27 feet out. If he had made it, overtime would have been necessary to decide the winner.
Jokic had a poor offensive start but finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists despite his struggles. Even though he only hit 8 of 29 shots, he scored eight points in the game’s final minutes to help the Nuggets stave off the Timberwolves.
After winning his 25th postseason game as head coach of the Nuggets, Michael Malone moved over Doug Moe into first place.
In the second round of the playoffs, the top-seeded Nuggets will compete against the team that emerges victorious from the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. Both teams started their games later on Tuesday night, with the Suns needing one more win to terminate the Clippers’ season before they could face off against the Clippers.
Denver was able to advance after making 32 of their 36 attempts from the free-throw line.
When he slammed home a dunk with 10:08 remaining in the game, Michael Porter Jr. had not scored a point. Forty-eight hours after setting his career playoff best with 43 points in a defeat in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4, Jokic missed eight of his first ten attempts from the field.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 14 points, Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out, and Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 26 points for the Wolves. Rudy Gobert was ejected from the game due to foul trouble.
Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown both contributed 14 points for the Nuggets. Brown was before Edwards as the latter attempted to tie the game at the buzzer. After missing his first five attempts from beyond the arc, Porter scored all eight of his points in the last period of the game, including a pair of crucial 3-pointers, which helped seal the victory.
With a combined 2 for 16 shooting performance from the field by Jokic and Porter, the Nuggets took a slim 48-47 lead into the locker room at halftime. This was the seventh time in the series that the Nuggets had taken the lead.
Murray, whose 16 first-half points kept the Nuggets in it after they went down by 13 early on, collected a long rebound and pulled up for a 26-foot 3-pointer when no defender scooped him up in transition. This kept the Nuggets in the game after they fell behind early on by 13. This gave Denver their first lead since the game’s opening minutes, giving them a 48-45 advantage.
The Wolves surged to a 25-12 lead before the Nuggets began their comeback and won overtime in Minneapolis on Sunday. This allowed the Wolves to escape a sweep by the Nuggets.
Kyle Anderson, who suffered an injury to his left eye and a facial bruise in Game 4, did not make the journey back to Denver with the Timberwolves, according to coach Chris Finch. This was done so that Anderson could consult some experts.
Nuggets: Under Malone’s direction, Denver was victorious in a playoff series for the fifth time in the last five years. They were defeated by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in five games the previous year while Jokic was missing Murray and Porter, who were both recuperating from surgery.