Timberwolves mount incredible second-half comeback to stun Nuggets in Game 7

    After suffering the worst playoff loss by a defending NBA champion in history, the Denver Nuggets responded by blowing the largest halftime lead ever in a Game 7 on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame incredible odds, advancing to the Western Conference Finals for only the second time and the first since 2004.

    Trailing by 15 at halftime and by as many as 20 in the second half, the Timberwolves clamped down on defense and wore the Nuggets and MVP Nikola Jokic down, coming from behind to win 98-90. On the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first and only Game 7 victory, Minnesota mounted the biggest second-half comeback in Game 7 history, outscoring the Nuggets 60-37. 

    The two teams traded blowouts throughout the series, entering game six with the largest average margin of victory in NBA playoff history (21 points). For a time, it looked like Game 7 would be no different, but Minnesota had a different plan. 

    The Nuggets defense silenced Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves early, holding them to a series-low 38 points in the first half. Taken out of rhythm, Edwards hit his first shot on Sunday but went ice-cold, failing to record his second field goal until 4:36 into the third quarter. But, after posting only four points at halftime, Edwards showed tenacity, scoring 12 in the second half to finish with 16 while adding seven assists. 

    Meanwhile, the Timberwolves’ supporting cast picked up the slack. Karl-Anthony Towns was huge for Minnesota, recording 23 points (8-of-14) with 11 rebounds. Likewise, Jaden McDaniels (21 points) nailed several big shots in the second half and was a terror on defense, while Rudy Gobert (13 points, nine rebounds) made things difficult for Jokic down the stretch.

    Conversely, after an extremely promising start, things couldn’t have gone worse for the Nuggets. Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 37 of the Nuggets’ 53 first-half points. Jokic had a double-double by halftime (13 points, 15 rebounds, five assists), and Murray responded after a poor Game 6 by recording 24 points (8-of-15) with three three-pointers at the break. But, while Jokic tired out, Murray went cold. After scoring the Nuggets’ first five points of the second half, he scored only six the rest of the way. 

    Many were ready to call the Timberwolves a team on the brink of breaking out following a tough but losing effort against the reigning champs. However, after a historic comeback on the defending champions’ home floor, Minnesota’s arrival could be now. 

    Now, the Timberwolves advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they’ll take on the Dallas Mavericks. Game 1 is on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. 

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