Live broadcast of the Timberwolves and Nuggets 4 match

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The Timberwolves and Denver play Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series tonight at Target Center, with the Wolves taking a 2-1 lead in the contest. Staff writer Chris Hayne provides this first-hand report:

8:48 p.m.: The Wolves cut four points from Denver’s big first-half lead in the third quarter

Game 4 didn’t turn into a blowout after three quarters like Game 3 did, but the Wolves still trailed Denver 90-79 after three quarters.

Denver opened the third by getting buckets on its first five possessions, nullifying the Wolves’ surge by hitting three straight threes.

The Wolves got Nikola Jokic in foul trouble, getting their fourth with 7:15 to play, and Denver opted to put it at the six-minute mark. After a 1-for-10 first half, Karl-Anthony Towns tried to step up offensively, and was 3-for-6 in the third. Anthony Edwards continued his brilliance with Wolverhampton by scoring a goal, and reached 37 points after the third goal.

Denver led by as many as 18 points, its largest lead of the quarter, before the Wolves cut it to 10 on a 13-5 run.

But with Jokic on the bench, the Wolves couldn’t cut into Denver’s lead much as Aaron Gordon continued his strong play. He was 9-for-9 for 23 points after three quarters while Justin Holiday scored 10 points off the bench.

8:03 p.m.: Jamal Murray scores from just past half court at the buzzer to put the Nuggets up by 15 points

Denver’s Jamal Murray intercepted a pass and hit a 55-footer as the second-quarter buzzer sounded, giving Denver a 64-49 halftime lead. The Nuggets scored 64.3% against the Wolves defense, and Nikola Jokic scored 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Wolves were getting back into the game, slowly chipping away at Denver’s lead with an increase in defensive intensity, and the Nuggets threw up a hay ball at the end of the quarter.

The Nuggets scored eight points in the final 20 seconds, first on a 3-pointer from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. After an Anthony Edwards turnover at the other end, Jokic hit Michael Porter Jr. for a dunk. Then the Wolves got sloppy with the inbounds pass as time ran out and Murray ended up with a desperation basket and steal.

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The Wolves cut Denver’s lead to make it a seven-point game.

The Wolves’ bench, which was a perceived powerhouse for them entering the series, was overwhelmed by Denver’s reserves to open the second quarter. Justin Holiday sank two 3-pointers to spark a 12-2 Nuggets run to open the second.

The Wolves trailed by as many as 16, 46-30, with 7:46 left to play in the quarter. Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid were the only things going offensively for the Wolves in the first half.

Edwards finished 8-for-12 with 23 points while Reid was 4-for-4 with nine points. Outside of those two, the Wolves shot 6-for-27.

7:34 p.m.: KAT leads 0-for-7, Wolves trails by five after one quarter

The Timberwolves had a lot of energy early and jumped out to a seven-point lead, but their offense disintegrated as the first quarter wore on and they trailed 29-24 after one quarter.

Karl-Anthony Towns got off to a rough start going 0-for-7 from the floor in the first quarter. That contributed to an 8-for-22 showing for the Wolves in the first quarter while Denver opened the night 12-for-19.

League MVP Nikola Jokic came out with a more scoring mentality to start for Denver, as he had 11 points in the first quarter. Aaron Gordon also scored eight points as the Nuggets overcame an early mistake by Jamal Murray, who scored two goals in the first 6 minutes and 12 seconds.

Anthony Edwards promised to bring more energy to the Wolves, and he did so by hitting his first four shots to take 11 points in the quarter. But in addition to Towns’ woes, Mike Conley started the night 1-for-4.

5:30pm: Lay off between 2 and 3 has left Wolves ‘feeling fat and lazy’

After Game 3, Wolves coach Chris Finch said the team may have been distracted while at home all week leading up to Friday. Before Game 4, Finch was asked what kind of distractions the team might face during the week.

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“Do you like your family when you’re out all the time?” Finch said with a laugh.

He pointed out many players have kids during the season and everyone has to deal with “life stuff” and how that contrasts with being on the road.

“When you’re on the road, it’s more of a shelter mentality,” Finch said. “The day is planned for you. This is what we do every minute of the day. Home, it’s a little different. You have to be professional, you have to be able to handle it.”

Finch said the break between Games 2 and 3 allowed the Wolves to hear a lot of the praise they received after their big Game 2 win.

Finch said: “The long absence made us feel fat and lazy, and everyone told us how great we played.” “They did an unbelievable job of coming out and setting the tone on us. We didn’t really respond and they caught our attention. So now it’s up to us to turn things around tonight.”

Morning shootout: “I flushed it down the toilet.”

Sunday is a new day and Game 4 is a new game, so Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker said he hasn’t looked back at the lopsided 107-90 Game 3 loss and late-game collision with Nikola Jokic, three-time Denver MVP, in the game. .

All that came out of that collision was a technical foul, and an angry Jokic was not called for a foul because of the slant screen he put on him near the 3-point line. Alexander-Walker’s teammate Kyle Anderson also received a technical certificate for the controversy.

As he walked onto the field, Alexander-Walker rolled all the way to the fans sitting courtside, where he briefly remained in apparent pain. He eventually walked off the field and into the tunnel with less than six minutes left in the game and his team trailing by 20 points.

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“I flushed it down the toilet, to be honest,” Walker Alexander said at Sunday’s Game 4 shootout about the game and play. “I didn’t look at him [Jokic’s screen again] once again. We knew what it was. We ate it together. What do we need to do to be better? We didn’t want to get into emotions or whatever the case might be. Just focus.”

Alexander-Walker was not listed on the Wolves’ injury report for Game 4.

“I feel good,” he said Sunday morning.

Wolves veteran guard Mike Conley was asked Sunday morning how such incidents and emotions could impact the next game or games in the playoffs.

“For some people,” Conley said. “I know Nickeal probably does that. He might hit some screens on purpose tonight. You never know. It’s a physical game. We know that. We all get his screens through those screens. We all give those screens to people. I know he’s going to be ready to play.” “Just like us.”

The Wolves have lost consecutive games only four times in the regular season and have never lost three games in a row. They also went 10-0 after double-digit losses, including the playoff opener at Phoenix. They were 6-0 in the playoffs until Friday’s thumper. They take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

“I expect the same response they gave us in the last game,” Conley said. “Go out with a sense of urgency, a little bit of anger, emotion, and all those things associated with it. Guys don’t like to lose, especially at home the way we did. It was an awkward way to go out, but you guys will be ready to go.”

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