NBA

NBA: Nuggets win showdown with Timberwolves behind Jokic's 41 points

By Sports Desk April 11, 2024

Nikola Jokić scored 41 points on 16-of-20 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 116-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday to take a one-game lead in the race for the top seed in the Western Conference.

Jamal Murray added 20 points in 27 minutes and Michael Porter Jr. had 18 points with eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who split the four-game season series with the Wolves. Denver needs to finish ahead of Minnesota and Oklahoma City to earn the No. 1 seed for the second straight season.

The Nuggets parlayed the top seed last year into a 10-1 run at home in the playoffs on the way to their first NBA title.

Anthony Edwards scored 25 points but was a non-factor in the fourth quarter and Mike Conley added 19 for Minnesota, which had won four of five.

Denver closed the third quarter on a 9-1 run to take an 83-80 lead into the fourth. The Nuggets’ second until extended the margin to 91-87 before Jokic and Murray returned with 7 ½ minutes left, and Denver used a 10-0 spurt to pull away.

 

Mavericks clinch Southwest Division

Luka Dončić scored 29 points and Kyrie Irving had 25 as the Dallas Mavericks secured the Southwest Division title with a 111-92 win over the Miami Heat.

Doncic fell just shy of his 22nd triple-double of the season with nine rebounds and nine assists.

Derrick Jones Jr, P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford each scored 12 points for the Mavericks, who will face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. It will be the third opening-round matchup between those teams in the last four seasons.

Tyler Herro scored 21 points for Miami, which fell to 20-19 at home this season after going 24-17 on the road.  

 

Portis leads Bucks without Antetokounmpo

Bobby Portis collected 30 points, nine rebounds and a career-high five steals and the Milwaukee Bucks overcame Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence for a 117-99 win over the Orlando Magic.

Damian Lillard had 29 points and eight assists and Pat Beverley had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Bucks, who played a night after Antetokounmpo suffered a strained left calf that will sideline him the final three games of the regular season.

Milwaukee is 1 ½ games ahead of the Knicks and two in front of Cleveland in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Cole Anthony scored 23 points for Orlando, which has lost two straight and three of four.

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  • Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive

    Anthony Edwards credited Karl-Anthony Towns after he halted his slump to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves alive in their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off a late Dallas rally for a 105-100 road win, forcing a Game 5 in Minneapolis on Thursday.

    That came after a difficult start to the series for the four-time All-Star, with coach Chris Finch saying it was "hard to watch" his struggles in Game 3.

    Towns shot just 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, but was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range on Tuesday.

    Edwards, who narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, said Towns was the primary reason the Timberwolves retained hope of an NBA Finals berth. 

    "Everything came together for him; he was super confident," Edwards said of Towns. 

    "He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time. He was the reason we won tonight."

    Finch echoed Edwards' praise, saying: "KAT's a great player. His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. 

    "Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there, just let him roll, and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. We're really proud of him. Tonight was a great step for him."

    While it was Towns' efforts that gave Minnesota a lead to defend, it was Edwards who made certain of the victory with a mid-range jumper after the Mavs pulled within three points just over a minute before the buzzer. 

    Towns, who fouled out with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock, said of his team-mate's game-sealing shot: "I was on the bench and had a front-row seat. I feel like he was visualising that make and he got to exactly the spot he wanted to.

    "I'm honoured to be playing with my brother here, seeing him every day put the work in, and I knew when he got to that shot it was a high likelihood he was going to make that."

  • NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas' Luka Doncic finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    "That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy," Doncic told reporters after the game. "They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one."

    Towns, who shot 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offense, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Doncic pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas' following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

  • Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas’ Luka Dončić finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    “That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy,” Dončić told reporters after the game. “They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one.”

    Towns, who shot 27.8 percent in the series’ first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offence, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Dončić pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas’ following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

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