BBNBA: Jamal Murray, Nuggets win third straight vs. KAT, Timberwolves

Zack Geogheganby:Zack Geoghegan05/15/24

ZGeogheganKSR

When the defending champion Denver Nuggets went down 2-0 (both losses coming at home) to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference Semifinals, most began to discount a possible comeback. Are the champs about to get swept? After all, Minnesota had just pulled off one of the best postseason defensive performances you’ll ever see in a 106-80 Game 2 win. Anthony Edwards was on another level and the Nuggets were struggling to score points.

But the Nuggets are champions for a reason. And with three-time MVP Nikola Jokic leading the charge, we should have known this series was about to shift back into Denver’s favor. Three games later, the Nuggets are in full control having won all of them to take a commanding 3-2 series lead. Denver broke the 2-2 tie on Tuesday night with a dominant 112-97 victory at home in Game 5. Jokic even received his 2024 MVP award from Commission Adam Silver right before tipoff.

Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray had a solid outing, finishing with 16 points and four assists on 7-14 shooting. He failed to even attempt a three-pointer in his 41 minutes of action, but Denver didn’t need a master performance from the former Wildcat. Not when Jokic is dropping 40 points (15-22 FG), 13 assists, and seven rebounds without registering a single turnover.

“If Jokic’s scoring like that, there’s no need to do anything special,” Murray said.

On the other side of the floor for Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns finished with a stat line of 23 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 38 minutes. KAT shot 10-19 overall and went 2-5 from long range. But he and Defensive Player of the Year winner Rudy Gobert had no answer on the other end for Jokic.

With the loss, the Timberwolves have dropped three games in a row for the first time all season. Game 6 shifts back to Minnesota with the series on the line. Tipoff is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Expect a fun one.

Other BBNBA notes

  • Isaiah Jackson and the Indiana Pacers had a chance to a 3-2 series lead against the banged-up Knicks in New York on Tuesday night. However, the Pacers failed to show up from the second quarter on, Jackson included. The former Kentucky big man recorded two rebounds and one block in just six minutes of play. He did not attempt one shot, either. Jalen Brunson dropped 44 points for the Knicks, which led by double-digits at halftime before cruising to a 121-91 win in Game 5. A decisive Game 6 is set for Friday night on ESPN in Indianapolis.

5/14/24 statistics

PlayerScorePTSFG (3PT)REBASTSTLBLKTO+/-MIN
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)112-97 L @ DEN2310-19 (2-5)642021738
Jamal Murray (DEN)112-97 W vs. MIN167-14141021141
Isaiah Jackson (IND)121-91 L @ NYK00-020011-16
Julius Randle (NYK)121-91 W vs. INDDNP-Shoulder

Tonight in the NBA Playoffs

ECSF | Game 5 | BOS leads 3-1
7:00 (TNT/truTV): [4] Cavaliers vs. [1] Celtics

WCSF | Game 5 | Tied 2-2
9:30 (TNT/truTV): [5] Mavericks (Washington) @ [1] Thunder (Gilgeous-Alexander, Wallace)

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2024-05-20