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Timberwolves put on defensive masterclass, dismantle Nuggets in Game 2



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 The Timberwolves placed on a defensive masterclass. 

They usually made the Denver Nuggets look misplaced and pissed off all night time lengthy. It led to an outburst from Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who yelled within the face of official Mark Davis throughout the first quarter. Jamal Murray tossed a warmth pack onto the court docket throughout the second quarter. And Aaron Gordon picked up a technical foul throughout a timeout within the third quarter.

The Timberwolves, in the meantime, had been gunning for his or her heads.

Minnesota was in management from begin to end in a 106-80 dismantling of the Nuggets in Recreation 2 of their Western Convention semifinal collection Monday night time in Denver. The Wolves will take a 2-0 collection lead again to Minneapolis with Recreation 3 on Friday at Goal Middle.

“We acquired embarrassed in entrance of our followers,” Malone stated.

The Timberwolves nonetheless have not misplaced in these playoffs.

Monday night time, it began on the defensive finish, the place every defensive possession was a murals. The assistance protection was at all times there. At occasions they trapped Nuggets guards within the nook. The switching was seamless, and there have been at all times three or 4 our bodies crashing the ball within the paint.

Maybe no stretch was higher than when the Timberwolves held the Nuggets scoreless for 3 minutes, 40 seconds straight within the second quarter as they constructed what would find yourself being an insurmountable lead. The Wolves had a 61-35 benefit at halftime.

And maybe extra spectacular than something was that the Timberwolves had been capable of placed on the defensive clinic with out their defensive anchor and Defensive Participant of the 12 months frontrunner in Rudy Gobert, who missed the sport as a result of start of his son, his first little one.

The Timberwolves had been capable of freeze, frustrate and fluster the Nuggets defensively from begin to end anyway. Everybody contributed as they racked up 12 blocks and 11 steals.

“We have had some actually, actually good defensive efforts on the 12 months, however that must be up there with the very best of them,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch instructed reporters postgame.

Gordon led the Nuggets with 20 factors. The Timberwolves held Nikola Jokic to simply 16 factors, although he did have 16 rebounds and eight assists. Murray had simply eight factors on 3-for-18 capturing.

The one unfavorable on the night time was that Monte Morris exited the sport and was dominated out shortly after as a consequence of a proper index finger sprain. It wasn’t instantly clear the severity of the damage, however the Wolves did have the sport properly in hand by then. It will be one thing to observe going ahead.

Kyle Anderson began in Gobert’s place and delivered a terrific efficiency, ending his night time with six factors, 9 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block. 

Offensively, Karl-Anthony Cities got here out sizzling with 11 first-quarter factors and completed his night time with 27 factors and 12 rebounds. It wasn’t one other 40-piece, however Anthony Edwards did not want one. He was extremely environment friendly with 27 factors on 11-of-17 capturing whereas additionally tallying seven assists.

Sixth Man of the 12 months Naz Reid put collectively arguably the very best defensive efficiency of his profession, and he did not lose his offensive prompt the bench. He completed with 14 factors, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. Together with offering stifling perimeter protection, Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 14 factors and 6 rebounds off the bench. Alexander-Walker had three blocks, too.

A press release sport is sort of an understatement contemplating the dismantling the Timberwolves did of the defending champion Nuggets, particularly contemplating they did so with out Gobert, who’s been the group’s mannequin of consistency. It was actually a shocking, spectacular efficiency.

Frankly, it was the kind of sport that will get one fascinated by the heights this Timberwolves group can attain. In the event that they proceed to play with the defensive prowess and aggressiveness and the starvation that they performed with Monday night time, there is probably not a group that may cease them. 

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