Minnesota Timberwolves Rout Denver Nuggets, Set Up Sunday Game 7

In Game 5 between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets, we got a game for the ages from three-time MVP Nikola Jokić. It was the third-straight win for Denver, and the suffocating defense that had Minnesota jumping out to a 2-0 lead was a distant memory.

That changed in Game 6, as the Timberwolves welcomed back the best defense in the NBA.

In Thursday’s Game 6, the Timberwolves annihilated the defending champions, 115-70. Jokić had 22 points, but he finished with just two assists, the first time in these playoffs that he finished a game with less than seven. A big reason for that was the abysmal shooting by his team as a whole, who shot just 7-for-33 from beyond three. Jamal Murray was particularly bad from the floor, hitting just 4-for-18.

“They beat our a**,” said Jokić. “They were better than us in every aspect of the game. We need to accept it. Take it and just try to be better next time. When you lose by 45, it’s not something that happens every day. Just accept it, you know.

“I think we shouldn’t [forget about this loss]. I think we need to [let it] sink in. It’s a great loss. They destroyed us, and you should learn from it.”

The margin of victory was the most in Timberwolves playoff history, and it was the largest margin of defeat for the Nuggets in their playoff history. It was also the largest margin of defeat for a reigning MVP since 1956.

Minnesota was paced by Anthony Edwards’ game-high 27 points, and 21 points from Jaden McDaniels. And the big men in the paint – Rody Gobert, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Naz Reid – combined for 38 rebounds. Jokić, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. combined for 23 rebounds. No one else on the team had more than four.

Game 7 Sunday

When this series began, we thought that it would go six or seven games. But it’s doubtful that anyone expected that this would be the path. Minnesota was in control, then they were dead and buried, and now they play a winner-take-all showdown in a place where they are 2-1 this series.

“They’re the defending champs, so it’s going to be super tough,” Edwards said. “They’re at home. They’re at the crib. Their fans are crazy. It’s going to be super loud. But I feel like, as a competitor, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I’m super pumped for it. I’m super happy. I’m ready to play it.”

Murray hasn’t been healthy all series, and it shows. But when preparing for a Game 7, none of what has happened in the first six games matters. “It’s all about the mindset now. All that’s behind us. All those games we’re talking about [are] all behind us. Now it’s just Sunday and who wins those 48 minutes.”

The Nuggets have opened as 5-point favorites, and they are paying -205 on the moneyline. A bet on the Timberwolves to win pays +170.

Player props include a total points line for Edwards at 27.5. Jokić’s over/under has been set at 29.5.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks – Game 6

In the other series in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks are hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6, with a chance to close out the series at home. Dallas was a winner on the road in Game 5 on the back of a triple-double by Luka Dončić.

“Sometimes, I forget this is the thing I love, this is the thing I do,” said Dončić after his 30-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist night. “My mental focus was to just go out there and play basketball, put a smile on my face, and just go.”

Dončić and the Mavs are 4-point favorites in Saturday’s Game 6, and are now just one win away from playing in the Western Conference Finals for the second time in three years. 

Player props for this game include an over/under of 28.5 points for Dončić. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder has an over/under of 31.5. Like Dončić, SGA finished with 30 points in Game 5.

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