Photo courtesy of: Hoops Habit
In what had all the feels of a playoff game, the Denver Nuggets rose to the occasion defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-96.
The Denver Nuggets entered Thursday night in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Looking for their fourth straight victory, the Nuggets came out sloppy and didn’t seem to completely find their groove till midway through the fourth quarter. Both teams were pressing all night long and you could tell that both teams were playing a little tentative with the stakes being at an all-time high. The Nuggets found a way to get it done though and improved their playoff chances with just three games to go in the regular season.
The Nuggets record now moves to 44-35 and puts them just a half game behind the Pelicans for the seventh spot in the West. The win also ties the Nuggets in the record column with the Timberwolves, and gives them the ability to win the tiebreaker if they’re able to defeat them in their final game of the season. The Timberwolves still control the tiebreaker at the moment, which allows them to stay in the eighth spot, but the Nuggets essentially control their own destiny if they’re able to win their final three games.
Going into tonight, the hype was around players like Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Even with all the star power between the two teams, the unlikely hero came from the Nuggets bench, Devin Harris. Harris’ play tonight was a highlight as to why the Nuggets decided to move on from Emmanuel Mudiay and acquire Harris at the NBA’s trade deadline. Harris finished the night with 20 points on 6-11 from the field, and made a game high five three-pointers.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 6, 2018
The push that Harris gave the Nuggets off the bench ultimately gave the Nuggets the spark they needed heading into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter consisted of a back and fourth affair where it seemed like either team could win the game, but the Nuggets did more of the little things to help them come out on top. The turning point of the game was when Karl Anthony Towns picked up his sixth foul with just over two minutes remaining in the game. The foul would allow Jamal Murray two free-throws to give the Nuggets the lead, and the Timberwolves never led from that point on. Nikola Jokic would score a huge tip in with under five seconds reaming to give the Nuggets a four point lead and ultimately seal the game for the Nuggets.
Even with Jokic’s tip-in to seal the win for the Nuggets, he still struggled on the offensive end of the floor going 6-20 from the field for 16 points. Jokic was still oh so close to another triple-double though as he hauled in 14 rebounds and dished out nine assists. Even with Jokic’s offensive struggles, the team still picked up the slack as all five Nuggets starters scored in double-figures. Jamal Murray led the way for the Nuggets with 22 points and shot an efficient 8-16 from the field, 3-6 from behind the three-point line.
The Blue Arrow has got the moves in the first! pic.twitter.com/VYQrcyX52c
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 6, 2018
With the win, the Nuggets now control their playoff destiny if they’re able to take care of business in their final three games of the regular season. The Nuggets will have a day off tomorrow before they’re back in action Saturday afternoon to face the Los Angeles Clippers.