Nuggets suffer worst Game 7 collapse in NBA history, Wolves win

May 19, 2024, 8:32 PM

DENVER—The worst collapse in a Game 7 in NBA history happened Sunday night as the Denver Nuggets threw away a 20-point lead in the second half to lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-90. The previous biggest comeback was 18 points.

The Wolves stormed back with their full five contributing heavily in the comeback. The No. 1 defense in the NBA held Denver’s defense to 37 points in the second half, while finally hitting their own open shots. They were aided by a ton of free throws too, 26-of-30.

The Wolves will meet the underseeded Dallas Mavericks, who have pulled two upsets en route to the Western Conference Finals. The two will play for a trip to the NBA Finals, where the winner will likely meet the Boston Celtics.

Both teams clearly felt Game 7 jitters early as they combined to shoot horribly in the contest’s opening minutes. The Wolves eventually went up 12-5 about midway through the first quarter. But the Nuggets rose, ridding a 16-0 run into the second quarter, Jamal Murray sparked. He scored 24 points on 15 shots in the first half, bolstered by Nikola Jokic’s absurd 13 points, 15 rebounds and five helpers early. The Nuggets took a 10-0 Wolves punch and answered back with a run to take a 53-38 lead into the break.

The Nuggets defense swarmed and they finished possessions too, going 29-18 on rebounds in the first half. Jaden McDaniels was limited by foul trouble but had a quick 10 points, he was joined by Karl-Anthony Towns with a Wolves high of 13 in the first. Anthony Edwards was forced to give up the ball by trapping defense and held to just four points on seven shots.

Part of that shinning Denver defense was Christian Braun’s hustle and part Michael Porter Jr.’s strong effort on the glass.

Denver’s lead ballooned up to 20 with Murray coming out to start the second half with a quick five points in 70 seconds. But then the Nuggets hit just one field goal over the next 10 minutes of play, watching the Wolves go on a 15-1 run at one point as they took the lead all the way down to one going into the fourth, outscored in the quarter 28-14.

Jokic and MPJ didn’t hit their threes until the fourth quarter, both tallying big shots but it wasn’t enough as the Wolves just kept coming. As proved by the final rebounding tally, 47-44 Wolves.

Jokic finished with 34 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists, Murray with 35 points on 27 shots. No other Nuggets player had double figures in any stat, with the rest of the team combining for just 21 points. The team again struggled in three-point shooting, finishing at 24% from deep.

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