Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 4-11
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 13, 2018,
Apr 13, 2018, 0:14
In what was a huge night for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team got the win they needed to secure their spot in this year's playoffs, and Karl-Anthony Towns was on fire throughout the game to guide his team to their desired end goal.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves, while Wiggins hit for 18 points and Jeff Teague scored 17.
The last time there was a winner-take-all game played in Minneapolis (1997) some of the current Timberwolves players couldn't say "basketball" let alone dribble one. Denver won their sixth straight as they held off Portland 88-82 at home Monday night.
Nuggets starting center Nikola Jokic was a man in form, scoring 35 points to keep his team's playoff hopes alive. There was nothing Taj Gibson could do to slow him down and Jokic's teammates jumped on his back as he carried them back into the game. Barton ended up with 22 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 three with 3 turnovers in 39 minutes.
The Houston Rockets (65-17) are anticipated to be a powerhouse team because of the inclusion of Chris Paul in the roster as well as the consistency of James Harden.
It's winner-take-all on Wednesday night.
A three-pointer by Will Barton with 3:15 to play gave the Nuggets their first lead in the game since midway through the first quarter. Butler has played just two games since returning from knee surgery and it's hard to know how much you can rely on him in crunch time.
When the postseason field was set late Wednesday, ESPN NBA reporter Bobby Marks tweeted out a list of the 16 playoffs teams ranked by age. He has risen to the occasion on the biggest stage the regular season can offer.
The Nuggets have to figure out who will guard Butler, but they will also need Wilson Chandler to contain Andrew Wiggins on the wing. The victor of that game goes to the playoffs. The Rockets also have home court advantage throughout the postseason. Cleveland can finish No. 3 or No. 4 in the East, depending on the outcome of its game against the Knicks and the Milwaukee at Philadelphia game.
Over their last ten games the Timberwolves are 6-4, including winning their last two games.
While the Rockets rested almost their entire roster of rotation in their season finale, the Wolves were pushed to overtime by the Nuggets in a winner-reaches-the-playoffs game.
These two teams are relatively even; Denver is playing better than Minnesota, but, if everyone plays to their full potential, the Timberwolves could out-talent the Nuggets.
Jonathan Gibson scored 18 points, Guerschon Yabusele had 16 and Shane Larkin added 12 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Celtics.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey is not giving his most important starters the night off in a finale that means nothing standings-wise to the Raptors.