The Denver Nuggets (55-30) were unable to clinch their first playoff sweep in franchise history on Sunday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves (44-43) came up with some clutch shooting and timely offense to avoid elimination. Now, the Nuggets head back home for Game 5 of the series with another chance to secure their trip to the next round of the playoffs on the line.

For Denver, after hot shooting had been around for the first three games of the series, they came back to Earth a bit in that realm. The duo of Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray were 3-of-10 from 3-point range with MPJ not making either of his triples until late in the fourth quarter. The team is still shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range for the series, but we did see some regression in that department.

For Minnesota, they’re continuing to play with house money. Everyone had written them off heading into Game 4, and, in the early part of the third quarter, it looked like it was all but over. Anthony Edwards continued his ascent into stardom with his third straight game of 34 or more points, and he’s shooting 48.3 percent from the floor to go with 40.5 percent from 3-point range. Denver has yet to find an answer for the third-year guard.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (55-30, 36-7 home) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (44-43, 19-24 away)

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

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

Expected Starting Lineups:

MIN: PG Mike Conley, SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SF Anthony Edwards, 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, Kyle Anderson (eye) OUT

Three Things to Watch

Alter Karl Anthony-Towns’ Rhythm

Outside of Game 3, the Timberwolves’ star center Karl Anthony-Towns has yet to get comfortable in this series. He fouled out of Game 4, and he had five fouls in Game 2. When he gets into foul trouble early in the game, it usually forces him to the bench, and he struggles to get into a scoring mindset on offense. If Denver can attack him early, they can force other members of Minnesota to beat them. 

Bother the Other Guys

Through the first three games of the series, the Nuggets won while letting Edwards score at will whilst the other Timberwolves were often struggling to score at all. In Game 4, those tides shifted a bit. Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker went 5-of-12 from 3-point range in a game the Nuggets lost by six. If you’re going to allow Edwards to score as much as he has been, you can’t let the other guys get good shots off as well.

Attack the Boards

This trend continued in Game 4. For the first time in the series, the Nuggets lost the rebounding battle, and the team that won in that category won the game. Denver holds the series’ lead by 19 boards, but they need to stay aggressive on the glass. Minnesota outworked them on the boards, and that resulted in extra possessions for the Timberwolves while stopping the Nuggets from getting possessions of their own.