Sunday, May 26, 2024

Timberwolves Dominate Nuggets Again, Take 2-0 Series Lead (g)

HomeSports NewsTimberwolves Dominate Nuggets Again, Take 2-0 Series Lead (g)

The Minnesota Timberwolves put on a defensive masterclass in Game 2, routing the defending champion Denver Nuggets 106-80 to seize a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. Even without Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert, the Wolves suffocated the Nuggets’ prolific offense with tenacious defense.

“That defensive effort was one of our very best of the season,” beamed Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch. “The intensity, physicality and attention to our gameplan execution was truly locked in at an elite level.”

While Minnesota’s stifling defense held Denver to just 34.9% shooting and forced 19 turnovers, it was the electrifying play of Anthony Edwards that provided the flash. The 22-year-old sensation torched the Nuggets for 27 points, dishing out 7 assists while routinely igniting the crowd with his signature flair.

In the first half, Edwards deked Reggie Jackson with a filthy between-the-legs dribble that sent the Denver guard sprawling to the floor. Edwards punctuated the highlight by audaciously pointing at the fallen Jackson. Later, he shrugged Michael Jordan-style after burying a cold-blooded triple to extend Minnesota’s lead to 23. And his Hulk Hogan-esque muscle flex following an and-one layup epitomized his brash confidence.

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“If I do something nice, I have to let everyone know about it,” smiled Edwards. “Whether it’s an and-one, I’ll flex. If I make someone fall, I’m pointing at them. It brings excitement to the game.”

His superstar sidekick Karl-Anthony Towns loved every second of Edwards’ showmanship. Towns matched his teammate’s 27 points while grabbing 12 boards and swatting two shots.

“When Ant is out there talking that trash, I know we’re in for a good night,” grinned Towns.

While Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic powered Denver’s title run last year, Edwards and Towns have been the unstoppable duo so far in this series. Murray was dreadful, mustering just 8 points on 3-18 shooting to go with 4 turnovers. Referee Marc Davis admitted Murray should have received a technical for angrily tossing a heating pad onto the court during live action.

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Jokic posted 16 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists but failed to take over, shooting just 5-13 with 4 turnovers against Minnesota’s swarming defensive rotations and relentless ball pressure. The two-time MVP typically torments opponents with his unique blend of skill, smarts and strength, but the Wolves have limited his impact through two games.

With Gobert returning from parental leave for the birth of his first child, Minnesota should be even more formidable when the series shifts to rowdy Target Center for Game 3 on Friday. A win would move the Wolves within one victory of their first conference finals berth since 2004 while putting the reigning champs on the brink of elimination.

“We’re extremely honored and blessed to have this 2-0 series lead opportunity,” said Towns. “But we have to stay humble because as great as this position is, it could turn very bad very quickly if we don’t take care of business at home.”

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After suffering decades of futility, the long-suffering Wolves franchise finally has a talented core hitting its stride when it matters most. Edwards’ boundless athleticism, Towns’ polished offensive repertoire and Gobert’s defensive dominance form a formidable trio that has Minnesota dreaming big.

While Denver’s championship DNA cannot be underestimated, the focused, confident Timberwolves look poised to end their 19-year conference finals drought. Edwards and Towns have raised their level while receiving superb complementary support that has neutralized the Nuggets’ star power.

If Minnesota maintains its defensive intensity and Edwards keeps sculpting his legend with more signature moments, this remarkable playoff run could deliver the long-awaited return to relevance that the dedicated Wolves faithful have desperately craved.

The series resumes Friday with Denver facing an uphill climb against a young, hungry Minnesota squad Playing its best basketball when it counts most. Buckle up for what could be an historic milestone in the ravenous Wolves’ pursuit of ultimate glory.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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