The Denver Nuggets, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, proved why they earned the top spot after a convincing 109-80 win over the No. 8 seed Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 1 of their first round matchup in the NBA Playoffs on Sunday night.
It was a full team effort for the Nuggets, as they had six different players with double-digit points on the night including the full starting five.
But none were better than Jamal Murray, who led the way with 24 points on 9-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-10 three-pointers made, with eight rebounds and eight assists.
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Nikola Jokic also had a double-double in the first half after tallying 13 points after going 6-of-10 from the field and 10 rebounds. He would finish the game with 14 rebounds and six assists.
Aaron Gordon (13 points, five rebounds), Michael Porter Jr. (18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists), Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (15 points, four rebounds) and Bruce Brown (14 points, three rebounds) all finished the game with double digits to help the Nuggets to victory.
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A 13-0 run in the third quarter that put the Nuggets up 81-56 thanks in part to Caldwell-Pope’s corner three-pointer before the Wolves called a timeout. But after Denver’s 32-14 third quarter, they ran up their lead to 29 points and didn't look back.
The Nuggets would get it up to 30 with 2:04 left to go in the fourth quarter, and everyone in Ball Arena in Denver knew Game 1 was in the home team’s pocket.
Frustration even boiled over for the Wolves when Kyle Anderson wanted to get a shot up after the whistle in the third quarter, but guard Christian Braun from the Nuggets didn’t let want him to. He kept putting his hand in front of the ball as Anderson went to shoot, and the latter eventually got fed up.
Anderson threw an elbow that caused a bit of a scuffle between both teams, and he was eventually hit with a flagrant foul that allowed Braun to shoot two free throws and give Denver the ball.
For the Timberwolves, stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards did not have good nights. Starting with Towns, he finished the game with just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting, though it was a double-double with 10 rebounds as well as two assists.
Edwards struggling shooting as well with 6-of-15 from the field for 189 points. He had two rebounds and five assists, too.
As a team, the Wolves shot just 37% from the field, including 30.6% from three-point land. That was compared to the Nuggets’ 45.6% from the field.
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Game 2 will take place at Ball Arena yet again on Wednesday with tip-off at 10:00 p.m. ET.