April 6, 2018 / 5:36 AM / 3 months ago

Nuggets edge Wolves, tie Minnesota for last playoff spot

EditorsNote: new headline

Jamal Murray scored 22 points and Devin Harris made five 3-pointers while notching 20 points as the Denver Nuggets recorded a pivotal 100-96 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.

Nikola Jokic registered 16 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, and Will Barton added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Nuggets won their fourth consecutive game. Paul Millsap contributed 12 points and seven rebounds, and Wilson Chandler scored 10 points.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out for Minnesota. Taj Gibson posted 17 points and 14 rebounds, Jeff Teague scored 15 points and Nemanja Bjelica had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Denver’s victory leaves both teams with records of 44-35 with three games remaining. Minnesota holds the tiebreaker edge and currently possesses the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but the squads close the regular season against one another on April 11 in Minneapolis.

“It is a huge win for us,” Jokic said during a postgame interview on TNT. “We get back in the playoff position with this win.”

Minnesota trailed by seven entering the fourth quarter and finally caught the Nuggets at 90 with 3:19 left. Bjelica followed with a 3-pointer to push the Timberwolves ahead.

Barton answered with a basket and then Towns fouled out with 1:46 remaining with Murray hitting the two free throws to give Denver a 94-93 lead. Chandler and Millsap each knocked down two free throws as the Nuggets took a five-point lead with 34.1 seconds left.

Gibson converted a three-point play with 30.2 seconds left to pull the Timberwolves within 98-96. Jokic put the game away with a tip-in with 4.3 seconds to play.

The Timberwolves held a 72-68 lead after a basket by Gorgui Dieng with 2:33 left in the third quarter. However, Harris caught fire with three 3-pointers in the final 91 seconds of the quarter as the Nuggets scored 11 straight to take a 79-72 lead into the final stanza.

Towns had 15 points and eight rebounds in the first half as Minnesota possessed a 54-51 lead at the break.

The Timberwolves opened the second half with a 17-6 burst to turn a three-point deficit into a 41-33 advantage. Denver responded with a 14-6 run to knot the score at 47 on Barton’s dunk with 1:39 remaining.

—Field Level Media

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