Jokic scores 40 as Nuggets beat Wolves 112-97 take 3-2 series lead


Nikola Jokic celebrated his third NBA MVP award with a 40-point performance as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-97 on Tuesday night, putting them one win away from the Western Conference finals. Jokic, who also contributed 13 assists and seven rebounds without any turnovers, led the home team to their first win in this semifinal series. Aaron Gordon added 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Jamal Murray chipped in with 16 points.
Jokic scores 40 as Nuggets beat Wolves 112-97 take 3-2 series lead
Jokic scores 40 as Nuggets beat Wolves 112-97 take 3-2 series lead

The Nuggets successfully contained Anthony Edwards, holding him to 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points, and Rudy Gobert added 18. The Wolves, now on their first three-game losing streak of the season, must win at Target Center on Thursday to force a Game 7 in Denver.

During a pregame ceremony, Jokic was presented with his third MVP trophy by commissioner Adam Silver. He scored 19 points in the first half, helping Denver to a 50-44 lead at the break. Jokic then added 16 points in the third quarter as the Nuggets extended their lead to 14 points. His dunk with 7:12 left in the fourth quarter put Denver up 98-80. Although Minnesota made a brief run to cut the lead to 103-92, Jokic hit a crucial 3-pointer over Gobert, sealing the game with just over three minutes remaining.

Despite the Timberwolves briefly taking a 55-53 lead early in the third quarter, Jokic assisted on four consecutive baskets during Denver’s 11-2 run, establishing a 64-57 lead that they maintained for the rest of the game. Edwards, who had averaged 33.3 points in the first four games of the series, struggled early, missing eight of his first nine shots and finishing with just five points at halftime.

The Timberwolves also faced a setback with veteran point guard Mike Conley being scratched before tipoff due to a sore right Achilles, which he injured in their previous game. Nickeil Alexander-Walker started in his place, scoring 14 points and adding five assists. Coach Chris Finch had planned to expand the rotation regardless of Conley’s status, giving some minutes to Monte Morris, who scored six points after Denver’s bench outplayed Minnesota’s reserves in the previous game. Finch also expressed his frustration before the game about the NBA fining Rudy Gobert $75,000 for a money gesture he made following a call in Game 4.



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