Edwards propels Minnesota Timberwolves to a 98-90 victory over defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets after a 20-point comeback

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Anthony Edwards waits for the game to carry on

Anthony Edwards overcame a slow start, and the Timberwolves made a strong comeback from a 20-point second-half deficit to eliminate the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets 98-90 in a Game 7 on Sunday night.

The Timberwolves overcame a 15-point halftime deficit—the largest comeback in a Game 7 in NBA playoff history—thanks to Edwards, who had just four points, no rebounds, and three assists at halftime but finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

His impact was significant despite his 6-of-24 shooting, which included a 2-for-10 performance from the 3-point line.

“It was tough, man because I couldn’t find myself, my rhythm tonight,” Edwards said. “So I just had to trust my teammates. … I just had to make the right plays throughout the rest of the game. I did that and my teammates made shots. Big shout-out to those guys.”

As Minnesota took control late, Edwards repeatedly stopped Jamal Murray, who had 24 points by halftime and finished with 35.

Naz Reid drives to the basket past to center Nikola Jokic

“There’s more ways to win the basketball game when you’re just not an offensive player,” Edwards said. “I’m not one-dimensional. I’m not just a guy who can score. I’m a guy who — whoever their best guard is, I can go lock him down. I feel like I did that on Jamal in the fourth quarter — in the third quarter and fourth quarter — and that’s what turned the game around.”

As the seconds ticked away, Edwards dribbled the ball upcourt and took time to wave good-bye to the stunned crowd at Ball Arena. The Nuggets had a 33-8 record there this season, the second-best in the league, but the Wolves managed to win three times in this series.

The Wolves, with 23 points each from Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels, advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years. They will face the Dallas Mavericks starting Wednesday night at Target Center.

“It feels great,” Wolves center Rudy Gobert said. “Beating a team like they are, an incredible team, a championship team, with the best player in the world, it feels good.”

With a fantastic start from Murray, the Nuggets raced to a 53-38 halftime lead. Murray’s 3-pointer with 10:50 left in the third quarter pushed Denver’s lead to 58-38.

Anthony Edwards celebrates with Jaden McDaniels after completing a 3-point

The Wolves turned to their defense, the NBA’s toughest, to get back into the game. They closed the quarter on a 28-9 run, pulling to 67-66 heading into the fourth.

Gobert gave the Wolves their first lead since the first quarter with a basket to start the fourth. When Towns picked up his fifth foul, Naz Reid, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, was spectacular at both ends of the floor to keep Minnesota ahead.

In one crucial stretch that started with Minnesota ahead 85-82, Reid hit two free throws and a dunk before passing to Edwards for a critical 3-pointer, putting the Wolves up 92-82 with three minutes left.

Murray, who had struggled with a 4-for-18 shooting performance in the Nuggets’ 115-70 loss in Game 6—the largest-ever loss by a reigning champion in the playoffs—made 13 of 27 shots for 35 points.

Jokic added 34 points and 19 rebounds, but the duo got little help, as no other Denver players scored in double figures.

Nikola Jokix takes the ball forward against Karl Anthony

“So much was being placed on their shoulders,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We’re expecting Jokic and Jamal to continue pulling rabbits out of their hat, man, and somebody else has got to give some help.”

This was the Timberwolves’ first Game 7 since beating Sacramento in the second round 20 years ago, which is also the only other time they reached the conference finals. The Nuggets were playing in their fifth Game 7 in the last six seasons and were seeking their third trip to the conference finals in that time.

“That was a hell of a series,” Malone said. “They gave us all we could handle and they ended up winning Game 7 on our home court, which is a tough one to swallow. But we’ll be back.”

The Nuggets became the fifth consecutive defending champion to fail to reach the conference finals. The last team to do so was Golden State in 2019, when the Warriors reached the NBA Finals but lost to Toronto.

Kai Soriano

By Kai Soriano

Kai Soriano, hailing from the picturesque archipelago of the Philippines, is not just your average writer. With a flair for capturing the essence of the NFL through words, Kai stands out as a leading NFL Content Writer. Blending his passion for sports with his impeccable writing skills, he delivers content that is both engaging and insightful. Dive into his pieces, and experience the game as if you're right there on the field! 🏈

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