Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Timberwolves Survive Nikola Jokic To Earn First Playoff Bid In 13 Years
Photo: Jim Mone (AP)

The NBA’s unofficial play-in game lived up to its importance tonight, as the Minnesota Timberwolves needed overtime to outlast the Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference eighth seed. Minnesota earned its playoff appearance with a 112-106 win, overcoming stellar play from Nikola Jokic—who scored 35—with great performances from its own stars. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler combined for 57 points, with Towns in particular going all-out over a marathon 47 minutes.

But honestly, this very much looked like a game between two borderline playoff cases, particularly at the end of regulation when the deadlocked teams traded missed buckets for the final two minutes. Still, this was a fun, physical battle, especially in overtime, where the Nuggets took their first lead since the opening quarter on a Will Barton three, and the teams went back-and-forth with one-point advantages. It was a Jeff Teague floater with over a minute to go that proved to be decisive, though, as the Nuggets didn’t hit a shot after the Minnesota guard gave his team a 107-106 lead.


This is the first playoff appearance for the Timberwolves since 2004. They now get the honor of (probably) losing to the Rockets in the first round.

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