The Denver Nuggets had to throw the kitchen sink at the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5, but it paid off as they won, 112-109, to win the series and move on to the next round.
The Nuggets will now look to the series winner No. 4 Phoenix Suns and No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers, where the Suns are up 3-1.
Desperation was high for the Timberwolves and that was evident throughout the game as they weren’t going to go down without a fight. The game was tied at 102 apiece with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter, and neither team could pull away.
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That was until Nikola Jokic hit back-to-back shots to make the game 109-104. The first was a gutsy effort, tipping the ball back twice on an original missed floater from him to give the Nuggets a slight lead. Then he hit a patented four-foot hook shot after a miss by Anthony Edwards on the other end.
It was also a rare opportunity after Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out of the game, and Jokic would hit it to give the Nuggets a five-point cushion. Towns came out of the game with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field with 11 rebounds and three assists.
It was an advantage they would not give up and they moved on to continue their journey to the Finals.
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However, the Timberwolves did not lie down, there were less than 30 seconds left. Mike Conley buried a 28-foot three to get within two points. Edwards did the same with a seven-foot drop after Bruce Brown (14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists) got the Nuggets back to a four-point lead.
They even had a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime with 2.5 seconds remaining 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 scored 35 points to lead the Nuggets, who included 5-of-9 3-pointers and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity strip.
For Minnesota, Edwards finished with 29 points on 13-of-26 from the field, though he missed all six of his 3-point attempts. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists with two blocks at the other end.
Rudy Gobert also fouled out for the Wolves, finishing with 16 points and 15 rebounds for a double-double.
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As the Nuggets advance, the Timberwolves will go back to the drawing board to see how they can move further into the playoffs next season.