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Behind Nikola Jokic’s triple-double, Nuggets close out Timberwolves


NIKOLA Jokic had 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the host Denver Nuggets past the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-109 on Tuesday night, closing out their first-round Western Conference playoff series in five games.

Jamal Murray scored 35 points, Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon had 14 each and Michael Porter, Jr. grabbed 10 rebounds for Denver. The top-seeded Nuggets are headed to the Western Conference semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons.

Anthony Edwards put up 29 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. Nickeil Alexander-Walker finished with 14 points and Taurean Prince added 13 points.

The game was tied at 102 when Mr. Jokic took over in the final 1:30. He hit two free throws, scored off of his own miss and converted a three-point play to make it 109-104 with 28.1 seconds left.

Mike Conley hit a 3-pointer and Mr. Edwards sank a putback around two free throws by Brown to make it 111-109 with 3.4 seconds left. Mr. Jokic split a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left, and Mr. Edwards missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

Mr. Murray opened the fourth with a 3-pointer to put Denver ahead 80-77, and the lead grew to five before Prince hit a 3-pointer, Mr. Gobert converted a three-point play and then tied it at 86 on a dunk with 8:34 left.

Mr. Porter hit his first 3-point attempt after missing his first five and then had a steal that led to a Brown layup and a 91-86 lead.

Minnesota cut the gap to a point, the Nuggets went back ahead by five but a three-point play from Towns made it 97-96.

Mr. Porter sank another 3-pointer after a Gordon offensive rebound to give Denver a 100-96 lead with 3:35 left. Mr. Towns missed a 3-point try at the other end before Mr. Gordon’s dunk pushed the lead to six.

The Timberwolves responded to tie it at 102 with 1:46 left.

Minnesota led by 15 early but Denver rallied to take a 48-47 lead into halftime. The Nuggets went up by four and the Timberwolves held a five-point edge in the third quarter, but the teams were tied at 77 heading into the fourth. — Reuters

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