Wolves huff, puff, blow Nuggets brick-built house down in Game 6

May 16, 2024, 9:00 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm

The Denver Nuggets face elimination for the first time in years after building a brick house of misses in Minnesota, leading to an easy 115-70 Wolves win in Game 6.

After beating the Nuggets twice in Denver, then losing the next three the Wolves have forced a Game 7 in a second-round series many think could end up deciding this year’s NBA title. The Wolves win was the second-largest by margin when facing elimination in postseason history. For the Nuggets, it was the lowest-scoring game of the Michael Malone era and the least points they’ve ever tallied in a playoff game.

Minny got down very early 9-2, but responded quickly on a 27-2 run to eventually up a 24-point first-half lead. The Nuggets couldn’t shoot, didn’t rebound and the Wolves battered because of that. Anthony Edwards had 14 points in the first quarter, the amount Denver ended the first 12 minutes with. Edwards ended up with 27 points and three steals in the game, while Jaden McDaniels joined the party by adding 21 points.

The Nuggets had a brief moment of life in the second quarter with Nikola Jokic staying in late, cutting the lead to 11 as Wolves missed nine straight field goals. It was also the only segment of the game where Denver out-glassed. But whistles propped up the Wolves and Minny answered with an 8-0 run as soon as Jokic went to the bench.

The Nuggets then made a late 7-0 run toward the end of the second quarter but a late turnover gave the Wolves a free bucket and then they came out in the second with a run to push the lead to 24 points—Minny never looked back.

Part of the issue for Denver was unlike Game 5 where Jokic torched, the Wolves forced him to pass and others to make shots. The Nuggets could not do that. Jamal Murray missed 10 of his first 11 shots and finished the game with a brutal line of 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting with five assists and two turnovers, for a -32 when on the floor.

And Denver didn’t grab their misses, getting bullied on the boards 62-43. It was a franchise record in rebounding for Minny.

As a team the Nuggets only shot 30% from the field and 19% from deep, and outside of Jokic’s 22 points. No other Denver player had more than 12 points. And the Nuggets didn’t get a single point from their bench until the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. Minny went on a 24-0 run with the Nuggets backups in, Denver only finished with nine points in the final period.

So the Nuggets will face their first elimination game on Sunday since Round 1 of 2022—only two players on the active Nuggets roster even saw serious minutes in that series. Jokic and Murray are 3-1 in Game 7s in their career, having last played one against the Los Angeles Clippers in the bubble. The two topped Mike Conley Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz in a Game 7 to complete a 3-1 comeback in 2020. Edwards has never played in a Game 7.

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