Photo Courtesy: Matthew Stockman-Getty Images
The Denver Nuggets came back from a 19 point deficit to force overtime in Minnesota, but Jimmy Butler and the T-Wolves hung on for the 128-125 victory.
Effort and toughness is something the Denver Nuggets showed in a tough loss to Minnesota on Wednesday night. The Nuggets trailed by 19 with 6:57 left in the second quarter, and gave up 71 first half points in the T-Wolves. The Nuggets were able to claw and fight their way back in the second half though and forced overtime after making two free-throws to tie the game at 114 with 5.5 seconds left in regulation. After a Jimmy Butler missed shot at the buzzer, the Nuggets started overtime with a Gary Harris three-pointer and seemed to be heading in the right direction for a comeback victory, but Jimmy Butler happened. Butler finished with 39 points on 10-20 from the field and shot an astounding 16-18 from the free-throw line. Butler scored 11 points in overtime and propelled the Timberwolves to victory.
— Off the Glass (@otgbasketball) December 28, 2017
That shot by Butler gave the T-Wolves a two point lead in overtime and even started a little trash talk from Butler towards Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray. The T-Wolves are now 22-13 on the season and are the fourth seed in the Western Conference. With the loss, the Nuggets are now 19-16 on the season and are sixth in the West. Tonight’s game showed glimpses off a potential rivalry between the two teams and a potential playoff matchup between the two teams later in the season.
The Nuggets were a +30 in bench points and outscored the T-Wolves bench 53-23. Denver had four players who scored over 20 points and got a career high eight assists from Jamal Murray. Murray also scored 20 points, had seven rebounds, and played a game high 46 minutes. Will Barton got back on track offensively scoring 28 points and made some big buckets for the Nuggets in the fourth quarter and in overtime.
Thrill out here showing off why he's got the nickname! pic.twitter.com/Dvp0ZTvC9R
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 28, 2017
Trey Lyles was great off the bench for the Nuggets and scored 23 points on 8-13 from the field, 4-8 from behind the three point line. Lyles also recorded his third double-double on the year with 10 rebounds. The Nuggets other player who scored 20 points was Nikola Jokic who scored 21 and was 5-11 from the field, 11-12 from the free-throw line. The only other Nuggets who scored in double figures were Mason Plumlee who scored 11, and Gary Harris with 10.
The Nuggets showed a lot of fight tonight and a lot of resilience to come back in a game where they were down as many as 19. The game was also on the second night of a back-to-back after playing three tough opponents in Portland, Golden State, and Utah. The loss snapped the Nuggets three game win streak, but shed even more light on how different this Nuggets team is than in years past. This Nuggets team doesn’t quit and has already come back in three games this season in which they’ve been down by 18 points or more. With the growth of Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, and the resurgence of Trey Lyles, this team is set up for a long time.
The Nuggets now have a couple days off before they take on the Philadelphia 76ers to close out 2017 Saturday night at Pepsi Center.