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NBA playoffs: How a ‘hype video’ led to Minnesota Timberwolves blowing out Denver Nuggets to force Game 7 | CNN



NBA playoffs: How a ‘hype video’ led to Minnesota Timberwolves blowing out Denver Nuggets to force Game 7 | CNN

David Berding/Getty Images

Anthony Edwards led Minnesota to a 45-point win over the Nuggets.


The Minnesota Timberwolves avoided elimination from the NBA playoffs in spectacular fashion on Thursday, blowing out defending champions the Denver Nuggets 115-70 to force a Game 7 back in Colorado.

After taking a 2-0 lead in this Western Conference semifinal, Minnesota had lost three straight to Denver going into this game as the stifling defense that served the team so well early in the series appeared to crumble.

However, the NBA’s best defense this season finally clicked back into gear on Thursday and Denver struggled all game to find ways to consistently break Minnesota.

Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels said the team’s coaches showed the players a highlight reel of their best defensive plays this season before the game.

“It was like kind of a hype video,” McDaniels said, per ESPN. “It had a good effect on us. Just showing that we’re able to compete with these guys. Like, we’ve done it before.”

The Timberwolves were led by rising superstar Anthony Edwards, who registered a game high 27 points to go with four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

However, Edwards was quick to lavish praise on McDaniels – who had 21 points on 80% shooting, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal – for his performance.

“This guy right here, he led us tonight,” Edwards told the TNT broadcast. “I told somebody before, everybody on our team is a leader, and he was the leader tonight. He stepped it up, big time.”

Karl-Anthony Towns registered a double-double for Minnesota with 10 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. As did Naz Reid, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Rudy Gobert collected 14 rebounds to go with eight points.

Jordan Johnson/NBAE/Getty Images

Jaden McDaniels’ big night helped the Timberwolves to a huge win.

It was a tough night all around for Denver’s offense but particularly for Jamal Murray, who scored just 10 points while shooting a miserly 22.2% from the floor.

“We played terrible. I played terrible,” Murray said, per Reuters. “Own it – and use that to come out in front of our home fans. We’ve got to win it.”

Newly-crowned three-time MVP Nikola Jokić had 22 points and nine rebounds in what was the biggest defeat for an MVP in a playoff game since 1956, according to ESPN’s SportsCenter.

“They were better than us in every segment of the game and we need to accept it, take it and just try to be better next timem” Jokić told reporters candidly after the game.

“When you lose by 45 it’s not like something that happens every day so just accept it. I’m cool with it.”

The two teams will face off in Denver on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Western Conference Final.

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