NBA

Timberwolves rout Nuggets for 2-0 series lead

By Sports Desk May 07, 2024

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 27 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves frustrated the Denver Nuggets once again to take a stunning 2-0 series lead on the reigning NBA champions.

Monday's 106-80 rout put the third-seeded Timberwolves in firm control of this Western Conference semifinal series, as they'll host the next two games after taking the first two matchups in Denver. Game 3 is set for Friday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota improved to 6-0 this post-season by shutting down Nikola Jokić and the second-seeded Nuggets' potent offence, and did so even with three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert unavailable as he attended the birth of his child.

The Timberwolves held Denver to 32.6 per cent shooting in the first half while taking a commanding 61-35 lead into the break, and the Nuggets finished the night shooting 34.9 per cent while committing 16 turnovers.

Jokic was held in check as the two-time league MVP was held to 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting, while Jamal Murray ended 3 of 18 from the field while managing just eight points in 36 minutes.

Aaron Gordon paced Denver, which entered the series 14-1 in its last 15 play-off games dating back to 2022, with 20 points. Jokic did record 16 rebounds and eight assists and Murray amassed 13 rebounds.

Towns added 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which led by as many as 32 points in the third quarter and finished with its largest margin of victory in a road play-off game in franchise history.

Brunson joins exclusive club, leads Knicks past Pacers in Game 1

Jalen Brunson extended his streak of 40-point performances and led a fourth-quarter rally that propelled the New York Knicks to a 121-117 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Brunson netted 21 fourth-quarter points and 43 overall for his fourth consecutive post-season game with 40 or more. The All-Star guard is just the fourth player in NBA history to achieve the feat and first since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan did so in 1993.

Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points and put New York ahead for good on a 3-pointer with 40.4 seconds left that snapped a 115-115 tie. 

The second-seeded Knicks trailed No. 6 seed Indiana 94-85 early in the fourth quarter before closing the gap with an 8-0 run. Brunson scored the first three points of the spurt, which DiVincenzo capped with a 3-pointer that brought New York within one with 8:56 remaining.

The Knicks later scored nine straight points - seven coming from Brunson - to take a 113-109 lead with 2:42 left, but two New York turnovers led to six consecutive Indiana points as the Pacers moved ahead by a 115-113 count with 1:33 to go.

Brunson buried a short jumper on the ensuing possession, however, and DiVincenzo knocked down a 28-footer after Indiana's Andrew Nembhard missed a 3-point try to send the Knicks back in front.

Pascal Siakam's layup with 26.6 seconds left to play brought Indiana within 118-117, but the Pacers went scoreless the rest of the way and Brunson sealed the outcome with three late free throws.

Siakam finished with 19 points and Myles Turner had 23 for Indiana, though Pacers' All-Star Tyrese Haliburton was held to six points in 36 minutes after being listed as questionable for Game 1 due to back spasms.

Josh Hart also had a big night for New York, which will host Game 2 on Wednesday, by compiling 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. 

 

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