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Recap: Denver Nuggets take down Minnesota Timberwolves

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Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Early in the game for the Denver Nuggets against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the referees were allowing physical play between the two centers, and KarlKAnthony Towns was able to draw an early foul before getting a bucket. After a Denver turnover, Torrey Craig got a big block on Andrew Wiggins down on the block. After giving up a transition dunk to Andrew Wiggins, the Nuggets got a 3-point shot out of Will Barton that brought it to a 7-3 game.

After giving up another open dunk to Robert Covington, Barton got a basket to fall in the pain with a nifty finish. After forcing another miss out of KAT, Jerami Grant got a 3-point shot to fall that brought it to a 9-8 game. Following a Jokic turnover, KAT got a contested layup to fall on the other end of the floor. With KAT down following the physical shot, the Nuggets got into the paint where Barton drew a foul to send him to the line where he went 1-of-2.

Off of his missed free throw, no one got back in transition which allowed another easy Wiggins make. Barton got an advantage on the next position that got him to the line where he made both, but the Timberwolves wiped it away with a 3-point shot out of rookie Jarrett Culver. Not to be outdone, Grant nailed his second 3-point shot of the night, and he was able to tie up the game thanks to a transition dunk off of a Minnesota turnover forcing a timeout.

After trading misses, Grant was forced to foul Towns who had a full head of steam heading towards the basket. He was able to nail both of his free throws to re-gain the lead 18-16. Jokic tied it up on the next possession with a floater, but Culver made another 3-point shot to go up 21-18. Grant got his 10th point on the night with an alley-oop dunk from Jokic. Denver forced another Minnesota miss, but they gave up an offensive rebound to Towns where he was fouled on the shot and sent to the line.

After trading misses, the Nuggets were able to get a putback dunk by Michael Porter Jr. that tied the game up at 22. Following a dead-ball timeout, the Nuggets had one of their bad offensive possessions that we see frequently when Jokic exits the game. After their miss, Gorgui Dieng nailed a 3-point shot to put them up 25-22 before P.J. Dozier made a layup to bring them within one.

After forcing a miss out of Minnesota, Denver turned the ball over on the inbounds pass and gave up an easy basket. Following the basket, Denver turned the ball over again on the other end of the floor and fouled Minnesota to send them to the foul line where they went 0-of-2. Off of the miss, Denver pushed the ball in transition where Malik Beasley was able to draw a foul with 27.0 seconds remaining and go to the line where he went 2-of-2 to bring them within one.

With less than 10 seconds remaining, Keita Bates-Diop nailed a fallaway jumper that put them up 29-26 to end the first quarter. Denver kept the game close despite some struggles on both ends of the floor, and they needed to clean up the turnovers as they had four at the end of the first quarter. They were also being out-rebounded 12-8, which included giving up three offensive boards.

Following the quarter break, Mason Plumlee exited the game with an ankle injury that forced Jokic back into the game earlier than usual. After a couple of Minnesota misses, Jokic was able to get a layup to fall to go ahead 30-29 before giving up a 3-point make that put them back in the hole by two. After another Nuggets miss, Dieng scored off of an offensive rebound that gave them a four-point lead and forced a timeout out of Michael Malone.

Out of the timeout, Jokic made an easy mid-range shot that brought them within two, and, after a Minnesota miss, Dozier got a nifty alley-oop layup to fall and tie the game. However, Denver gave up another 3-point make to lose the tie again. Denver committed their sixth turnover on the night, and the Timberwolves were able to capitalize with an open 3-point shot that put them up by four.

After a miss by Juan Hernangomez, the Nuggets got a layup to fall. Denver then committed their seventh turnover on the night which led to a transition basket, an eight-point deficit and a Nuggets’ timeout. Denver missed out of the timeout, and the Timberwolves got a make that put them up by 10. After another make by Grant, they forced a miss and got Porter going downhill in transition where he drew a foul and made both of his free-throw attempts.

With a long and athletic lineup on the floor, Denver went on a 8-0 run that included a lot of work by Porter and brought the team within two. Following a timeout by the Timberwolves, Towns drew a foul and got a pair of free throws to fall. Beasley was unable to match, but Denver was able to convert a 3-point shot off of a turnover by Minnesota that brought them within one.

On the next Minnesota possession, the Timberwolves matched ith with a 3-point shot their own before stealing one away from Jokic. Porter continued his hot night with a 3-point shot out of the corner before getting a defensive rebound. After a miss by the Timberwolves, Barton got a 3-point shot to fall that gave them a 53-51 lead which was their second on the night. Monte Morris got a layup to fall that extended the lead to four before Minnesota called a timeout with about one minute remaining.

Denver had a few shots, but they were unable to get them to fall. Late in the quarter, Denver gave up an offensive rebound and fouled Josh Okogie to send him to the line. He made the basket along with the foul shot and made the game 55-54 at the half. Denver’s offense came to life in the second quarter, and they rode that to a one-point lead.

Coming out of the half, Denver got an easy basket to fall, but Towns got the points back right away on the other end. After a Jokic miss, Grant got a tip-in to go. The Nuggets weren’t able to match a Culver make, but, after a Culver miss, Morris drove to the basket where he got right in for a layup and a three-point lead. After a pair of Nuggets’ misses, Towns drove to the basket for his 18th points on the night. Following a miss by Morris, Jokic got the rebound and immediately scored.

Down 63-60, after a number of misses, Minnesota got a tip-in to go that brought them within one before Grant re-stretched the lead back to three with an easy dunk. After a dead-ball timeout, Minnesota got a 3-point shot to fall that tied the game at 65. Craig was able to get the lead back with a layup before Robert Covington got a 3-point shot to go down. After a couple of misses, Jokic got another mid-range shot to fall that gave them a 69-68 lead before a cut by Covington earned an easy layup.

Up by one, the T-Wolves nailed a 3-point shot that stretched their lead to four and forced a timeout out of Malone. Jokic was fouled coming out of the timeout, but he was only able to go 1-of-2 at the line. Plumlee re-entered the game with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter after being out for about 19 minutes of play. After trading misses, MPJ got a 3-point shot to fall in transition that gave the team a 75-74 lead with 90 seconds remaining.

Okogie tied the game up, but Barton was able to get his own basket to fall before Okogie matched him again. With 30 seconds to go, Denver forced a miss, and, after getting the rebound, Porter pushed it ahead in transition to Plumlee who got the layup to take an 81-79 lead heading into the final quarter.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Towns got an easy hook shot to fall over Plumlee before Plumlee threw down a dunk over him on the other end of the floor. After a block by Towns, Plumlee stayed with it to get the rebound and the score. Towns made a pair of free throws to bring them within two. Following a few turnovers and misses, the Nuggets settled things down to get a basket and a five-point lead.

The two sides traded misses before Minnesota got a big dunk to fall after a long possession, and Plumlee was unable to answer despite getting a layup at the cup. Porter continued his hot night with a 3-point shot that gave them a six-point lead and forced a timeout out of the Timberwolves. Denver forced a miss out of the timeout and Jokic made a pair free throws before the two sides traded 3-point shots. Beasley got a rebound and bucket to fall that forced another Minnesota timeout.

Following the timeout, Minnesota cut into the 10-point lead with a layup with 5:30 remaining. After trading misses, Morris got to the basket again to get the lead back to double digits. Towns got a 3-point shot to fall that brought the Timberwolves closer, but they were unable to build on that before Jokic made a shot in the paint to put them up by nine.

Covington got a put-back shot to fall and bring the T-Wolves within seven which forced another timeout out of Malone with 3:14 left on the clock. After letting the Wolves get within four, Denver got a basket to go that put them up by six before forcing a miss. Minnesota capitalized on another Denver miss that brought them within four. After the two sides traded misses, Barton got a 3-point shot to fall with 30.4 remaining to give the team a seven-point lead.

Coming out of a Timberwolves timeout, they chose not to foul after a miss, and the Nuggets were able to dribble out the clock for another tight win in a back-to-back, which made them 6-0 in back-to-backs since December.