NBA

NBA: Nuggets, Pacers win to even series

By Sports Desk May 12, 2024

Nikola Jokić scored 16 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Denver Nuggets held off the Minnesota TImberwolves to earn a critical 115-107 win in Sunday's Game 4 of a Western Conference semifinal series. 

Aaron Gordon also provided the Nuggets a huge lift by amassing 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting as the reigning NBA champions evened the series at 2-2. Jamal Murray added 19 points, 12 of which came in the third quarter, to help Denver to its second straight victory in Minnesota after the TImberwolves won Games 1 and 2 on the road.

The best-of-seven series will return to Denver for Tuesday's pivotal Game 5.

Denver also overcame another superb performance from Minnesota's Anthony Edwards, who put up a play-off career-high 44 points for his third 40-point effort in this post-season. 

Edwards' All-Star teammate Karl-Anthony Towns struggled, however, as he was held to 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds. 

The Nuggets never trailed after taking a 23-22 lead on Gordon's three-point play with 2:39 left in the first quarter. They led 29-24 after one period, then scored the final eight points of the first half to own a 64-49 advantage at intermission.

Murray capped the opening half by draining a 3-point shot from half-court as the buzzer sounded.

Denver's lead swelled to as many as 18 points early in the third quarter, but the Timberwolves gradually chipped away and cut their deficit to 111-104 when Edwards followed teammate Jaden McDaniels' 3-pointer with a running layup with 1:41 left to play.

Minnesota didn't make another basket the rest of the way, though, and Jokic sealed the outcome by scoring off a Gordon feed out of a timeout with 25.8 seconds remaining to make the score 115-107.

 Pacers clamp down on Knicks to even series

The Eastern Conference now has a series all even at two games apiece as well after the Indiana Pacers came through with a dominant 121-89 Game 4 rout of the New York Knicks.

Tyrese Haliburton led a balanced Indiana scoring attack with 20 points, but it was the Pacers' defence that provided the biggest reason why the series is now all tied as it heads back to New York for Tuesday's Game 5.

The Knicks shot a meagre 18.9 per cent (7 for 37) from 3-point range, their lowest accuracy rate in a play-off game since 2000, and 33.7 per cent overall in by far their most lopsided defeat of this post-season. Star guard Jalen Brunson, who entered the contest averaging a league-leading 34.6 points per game in the post-season, was held to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting.

T.J. McConnell added 15 points and 10 assists for Indiana, which immediately assumed control by opening the game on a 19-6 run and shooting 60.9 per cent in the first quarter.

New York, on the other hand, went 6 of 23 from the field in the opening period and trailed 34-14 entering the second. 

The Pacers continued to dominate in the second quarter, building a lead as large as 30 points and taking a commanding 69-41 advantage into the break. Five Pacers scored in double figures in the first half, led by Haliburton's 13 points.

New York failed to mount a challenge in the second half as well, as the Pacers extended the margin to 101-63 after three quarters and led by as many as 43 points in the fourth.

Alec Burks finished with 20 points to lead the Knicks, who played without defensive stopper OG Anunoby for a second straight game due to a left hamstring injury he sustained in Game 2. 

 

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