The Nuggets are showing the Timberwolves why they’re still the team to beat

How quickly things can shift.

After being down 0-2 in their second round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Denver Nuggets have won two road games in a row, capped by a 115-107 victory in Game 4. 

Now, things are tied and the Nuggets have an opportunity to become the sixth team in NBA history to recover from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. 

Just in case you forgot, these Nuggets won the championship last year. They’re not going to roll over easily. And they’re deep. 

Nikola Jokoic had 35 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Aaron Gordon had 27 points on a nearly perfect 11-for-12 shooting effort. Jamal Murray made a buzzer-beater from behind the halfcourt line at halftime, sparking a 19-point, eight-assist and five-rebound performance. And the Nuggets’ bench outscored the Timberwolves’ reserves, 27-13. 

It was deflating for the Timberwolves, who were led by a herculean performance from Anthony Edwards, who finished with 44 points on 16-for-25 shooting. But after him there was a steep dropoff, with Karl-Anthony Towns, their second-leading scorer, finishing with a woeful 13 points on five-for-18 shooting. 

For the Nuggets, things shifted at the end of the second quarter when they went on an 8-0 run that included a 25-foot 3-pointer by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a steal from Gordon against Edwards that set up a Michael Porter Jr. dunk, and then a 55-footer by Murray with 0.4 seconds left. 

It was a thrilling sequence that interrupted a Timberwolves run and put the Nuggets up by 15 points, shifting the momentum of the game. The Timberwolves cut their hole to as few as 6 points in the final minute, 113-107, but couldn’t complete the comeback. 

Now, the series will return to Denver.

Jokic is playing like a three-time MVP. Murray is playing like one of the top postseason performers in the league. And the team’s role players are stepping up. 

Even Edwards, who is regularly being compared to a young Michael Jordan and not making anyone regret that analogy, was helpless against the Nuggets’ well-oiled machine. 

Now, the Nuggets have regained home court advantage, a dangerous prospect for a young Timberwolves team that’s trying to win their first championship in franchise history.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX sports. She previously covered the league for sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.

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Nikola Jokic

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