The Denver Nuggets (56-29) entered the playoffs with question marks and doubters in the media following a slow finish to the regular season. Now, they’re up 3-0 against the Minnesota Timberwolves (43-44) with the potential for a sweep tonight on the road. With it looking likely that their second-round opponent in the Phoenix Suns will be wrapping their series up in five games, the Nuggets need to guarantee themselves as much rest as they can with a win tonight.

For Denver, they’ve won all three of their games by nine or more points, and they’ve scored 120 or more points in each of their last two games. As a team, they’re shooting 41.9 percent from 3-point range through three games and 52.1 percent overall from the floor. The 3-point shooting is a welcome return after they shot just 34.5 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star Break, which ranked 22nd in the NBA.

For the Timberwolves, after starting the series slow, Anthony Edwards has been shooting flames over the last two games. He has 77 points in those two games, and he’s shot 24-of-45 from the floor in those games. The team also got some life out of Karl Anthony-Towns in Game 3, as his 27 points were more than he had in Game 1 & 2 combined. Against this Nuggets’ roster, the star duo needs some more help to extend this series beyond tonight.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (56-29, 20-22 away) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (43-44, 22-21 home)

When: 7:30 p.m. MST

Where: Target Center

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. TNT. Show up in Minneapolis. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Expected Starting Lineups:

MIN: PG Mike Conley, SG Anthony Edwards, SF Taurean Prince, PF Karl Anthony-Towns, C Rudy Gobert

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Jaylen Nowell (knee) QUESTIONABLE, Josh Minnott (ankle) QUESTIONABLE 

Three Things to Watch

Stifle the Other Guys

Through three games, the only consistent offense for the Timberwolves has been Anthony Edwards. He is the only player on the team with more than 48 total points in the series. Despite the high volume of shots, he’s still shooting 50 percent from the floor. Denver has been content to let him score points at will, but they have to make sure to stifle the options outside of him as well. If Edwards is scoring and someone else gets rolling for Minnesota, this game will get a lot more interesting. 

Avoid Foul Trouble

Heading into Game 4, foul trouble continues to be something the Nuggets are struggling with as a team. Nikola Jokic is averaging 4.7 fouls per game. While the team has been scoring enough outside of him to lessen his scoring load, his passing helps keep everything going. If he were to be forced to the bench for long stretches of time, the team’s offense could suddenly bog down. 

Attack the Boards

There were times this year the Nuggets struggled to rebound the ball, but they’ve won the rebound battle in each of the first three games. These two teams were ranked 19th and 23rd respectively in rebounding during the regular season. When teams are that close in one statistic, the team that wins the battle in the game will go a long way toward winning the game overall. Through three games, the team that has won the rebounding battle is undefeated. If Denver wins it again, they likely win the series.