NBA

Conley return completes Timberwolves as they force Nuggets decider

By Sports Desk May 17, 2024

Mike Conley Jr. said his return had completed the Minnesota Timberwolves after they crushed the Denver Nuggets to force a Game 7 in the teams' Western Conference semifinal series.

The Nuggets had the chance to eliminate the Timberwolves at Target Center on Thursday after going 3-2 up in the series, but the hosts roared back to tie things up with a 115-70 rout.

Anthony Edwards led the way with 27 points and Jaden McDaniels added 21 on 8-of-10 shooting, with the Timberwolves' win the second-largest NBA Playoff victory by a team facing elimination in history.

Edwards put the team's improvement down to the return of guard Conley, who missed Game 5 after suffering from soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

Asked what had changed for Minnesota, Edwards said: "We got Mike Conley back. That was it."

Conley said: "Obviously I wanted to play the last game. I just couldn't move at all. Tonight it was a no-brainer. 

"I was going to try to find a way. We're just better when we're a complete team."

MVP Nikola Jokic had 22 points and nine rebounds for the defending champions, who were stunned by a 20-0 first-quarter run from the third-seeded Timberwolves. 

Asked how Denver would look to forget about the loss, Jokic said: "I think we shouldn't.

"I think we need to let it sink in. It's a great loss. They destroyed us, and we should learn from it."

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