Jamal Murray scored 40 factors and Michael Porter Jr. had 13 of his 16 within the fourth quarter, powering the Denver Nuggets previous the Minnesota Timberwolves122-113 on Wednesday evening for a 2-0 lead within the NBA playoff sequence.
Murray hadn’t ever produced even a 30-point playoff recreation at Ball Enviornment – his two 50-point postseason performances got here within the NBA bubble in Florida in 2020.
“It is good,” Murray mentioned. “It is good having a crowd. They obtained me going. That fires us up and provides us loads of life even once we’re not taking part in our greatest.”
Murray obtained a hug from coach Michael Malone as he went out with 11 seconds left to a rousing ovation.
“I used to be exhausted,” Murray mentioned.
Nikola Jokic added 27 factors, 9 assists and 9 rebounds for the Nuggets, who blew an early 21-point lead and trailed 89-87 heading into the fourth quarter.
Anthony Edwards had 41 factors for the Wolves, who shot a scorching 81% within the third quarter to erase a 64-59 halftime deficit.
Minnesota had shot simply 39% within the first half, simply barely higher than it did in a 29-point loss within the sequence opener Sunday evening.
“We knew sooner or later we would see the aggressive, attacking Timberwolves,” Malone mentioned. “In that third quarter we noticed it and so they performed nice and we did not defend within the third quarter, however I used to be happy with how we responded in that fourth quarter.”
The sequence shifts to Minneapolis for Sport 3 on Friday evening
The Nuggets recovered throughout an exciting fourth quarter that started with Porter scoring eight straight factors – on a four-point play, a reverse layup and two free throws – however the Nuggets could not shake the energized Wolves, who clawed again and went forward 99-98 on an Edwards’ jumper.
Porter replied with a 3-pointer that restored Denver’s lead for good.
Rudy Gobert scored 19 factors however was whistled for a technical foul whereas arguing his fifth foul, a shove in Jokic’s again. It was teammate Kyle Anderson – whom Gobert punched within the Timberwolves’ ultimate regular-season recreation – who calmed down Gobert.
Murray led the counterpunch to Minnesota’s massive third-quarter run, one thing he could not do the final two postseasons as he recovered from a torn left ACL.
“That was powerful,” Murray mentioned, “simply sitting down watching.”
And solely dreaming of nights like this.
That is the primary time the Nuggets have taken a 2-0 lead in a sequence underneath Malone.
“What we’ve to do just isn’t be happy,” Malone mentioned. “If you are going to be an excellent group, you have to be egocentric. Be egocentric … man. Let’s go up and get Sport 3. Let’s not be complacent.
“That was my greatest concern coming into tonight and will probably be a fair greater concern going into Sport 3. We all know it is going to be a loopy surroundings there. Their followers have been asking for Denver. Effectively, right here we come.”
Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Cities scored 10 factors on 3-of-12 taking pictures. Within the sequence, he has scored 21 factors on 8-for-27 taking pictures. Edwards made 6 of 10 3-pointers, identical as Murray.
Nuggets: Denver outscored Minnesota 19-3 on quick breaks within the first half however completed with only a 19-16 benefit. … Murray scored a fast 14 factors because the Nuggets hit 10 of their first 15 photographs within the first quarter.