Nuggets melt down under Timberwolves' pressure to go down 0-2
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets during Game 2 of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nuggets melt down under Timberwolves' pressure to go down 0-2

The Minnesota Timberwolves' relentless defense got to the Denver Nuggets Monday night, even on an emotional level.

Not only did Nuggets coach Michael Malone get into a yelling match with an official, Jamal Murray threw a heat pack onto the court from the bench during the second quarter of Minnesota's 106-80 win over Denver in Game 2 of their second-round series.

That might end up costing Murray a suspension for a series that is rapidly slipping away from the Nuggets. 

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards each had 27 points for the Timberwolves, who led by 26 points at halftime. Towns and Edwards (36 points combined) outscored Denver's entire team (35 points) in the first half, as Minnesota's top-ranked defense smothered the Nuggets.

Minnesota's speed and length confounded the Nuggets, who turned the ball over 16 times. The Timberwolves had 11 steals, 12 blocks and forced three shot clock violations. 

They did all this without the player who's the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, who missed Game 2 after the birth of his child.

Not only did Denver look inferior to the young Wolves, they looked dispirited. Murray shot 3-for-18 and turned the ball over four times. Nikola Jokic had 16 points and only attempted 13 shots.

While Jokic might be on his way to his third MVP in four years, Edwards was the best player on the floor. When he scored over a double team from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr. late, you could see KCP's shoulders visibly sag in resignation.

Now the Timberwolves head back to Minneapolis with confidence that they might not just win the series, but sweep it. They're certainly in the Nuggets' heads, and the heat packs are flying around to prove it. 

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