The Minnesota Timberwolves eliminate the Nuggets and will play in the West final for the first time in 20 years | Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves eliminate the Nuggets and will play in the West final for the first time in 20 years | Sports
The Minnesota Timberwolves eliminate the Nuggets and will play in the West final for the first time in 20 years | Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are back in a conference final for the first time in 20 years. The last time this team sought a place in the NBA finals, Kevin Garnett had not yet made history with the Boston Celtics. A new generation, with Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony Townes and Rudy Gobert at the helm, will seek to get this franchise to the first final in its history. This Sunday’s victory, 90-98, came after a great comeback in the third quarter and a defensive masterclass to annul the current NBA champions, the Nuggets of Nikola Jokić, three-time MVP of the league in recent years. four years.

Denver failed to defend its first title in its history. They have been eliminated after losing three of the seven qualifying games at home. This Sunday, however, has been the most painful defeat. The Nuggets had dominated much of the game with a wonderful first half from Jamal Murray. The Canadian seemed to be leading his team to the second consecutive conference final, where the Dallas Mavericks of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving were waiting for them.

The Nuggets were unable to avenge Thursday’s crushing 45-point loss. Jokic stood on the bench in the fourth quarter at Target Stadium in what was the franchise’s worst playoff loss. His serious face seemed to be plotting revenge after a stellar night by Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, who scored 48 points in Game 6. If the Serbian showed concentration then, this Sunday his face showed frustration due to the defensive wall that Minnesota managed to build around him.

Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony Townes have been the pillars of the defensive class that the Timberwolves have given tonight. The Frenchman, the defensive player of the year, left the game in the fourth quarter due to foul trouble. When he came out, after 35 minutes of play and 13 points, the damage to the champions was done. His play managed to reduce Denver’s number of baskets in the paint during the second half. Especially from Aaron Gordon and Jokić, who was eliminated despite a new double double of 34 points and 19 rebounds. In addition, Naz Reid, who contributed from the Minnesota bench with eleven points, eight of them at the end of the game, scored two blocks against the Serbian in the final moments of the game.

Anthony Edwards, who has been compared to Michael Jordan in these playoffs, had a weak start to the game. At 22 years old, he was the one who told the Denver locker room workers that they would be back for a seventh game. The warning seemed to be faded after the first quarter, where he only managed to score one basket in 12 minutes. But faced with the specter of elimination, he appeared when he was needed most and his team came back eleven points after the break. Edwards closed the night with 16 points. In the second half he scored two triples to change the course of the semifinal.

The Timberwolves’ response seemed to catch the Nuggets, who had dominated the first half with aplomb, off guard. They had gone into halftime with a comfortable lead of 15 points and a great performance by Jamal Murray, who scored 24 of the 35 points in the first two quarters that he converted in the seventh game. But the champions got into foul trouble, sending Gobert and other Minnesota players to the free throw line to increase the visitors’ lead.

Minnestoa will play against Dallas in the first game of the West final next Wednesday. They will begin the series at home, in the same arena where they humiliated the current champions by 45 points. The last time this team made it to the finals was in 2004. It was the team led by Kevin Garnett and Sam Casell. They lost in six games to the Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neall and, perhaps less remembered, Karl Malone. This legendary team was defeated in the final by Detroit, forcing the departure of Phil Jackson. Now, the Minnesota Timberwolves will seek their own glory with their first ring since their founding in 1989.

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