The top-seeded team in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets, made a compelling statement in Game 1 of their NBA Playoffs first-round matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves with an emphatic 109-80 victory on Sunday night. The Denver received contributions from multiple players, with six players scoring double-digit points, including all five starters.
Jamal Murray, the standout player of the game, scored 24 points on 9-of-22 shooting. With eight rebounds and eight assists, including 4-of-10 three-pointers made. Nikola Jokic had a double-double by halftime with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. He finished the game with 14 rebounds and six assists. Aaron Gordon scored 13 points with five rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope had 15 points and four rebounds, and Bruce Brown finished with 14 points and three rebounds. This collective effort propelled the Nuggets to victory.
In the third quarter, the Nuggets went on a 13-0 run that was highlighted by Caldwell-Pope’s corner three-pointer. Which put them up 81-56 before the Timberwolves called a timeout. After a 32-14 third quarter, the Nuggets expanded their lead to 29 points and never looked back.
With 2:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets led by 30 points, securing a dominant win in front of their home fans at Ball Arena in Denver.
During the game, frustration boiled over for the Timberwolves when Kyle Anderson attempted to take a shot after the whistle in the third quarter, but Nuggets guard Christian Braun intervened by putting his hand in front of the ball. Anderson then threw an elbow, leading to a scuffle between the two teams. As a result, Anderson assessed a flagrant foul, and Braun awarded two free throws, enabling Denver to maintain possession of the ball.
Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, their star players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, had a subpar performance. Towns finished the game with just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting, with 10 rebounds and two assists. While Edwards scored 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, with two rebounds and five assists. As a team, the Timberwolves shot only 37% from the field and 30.6% from beyond the arc, in contrast to the Denver 45.6% field goal percentage.
The Denver triumph in Game 1 validated their status as the top seed in the Western Conference. Displaying their collective depth and talent. The Timberwolves have some adjustments to make if they want to compete in the series.