Two days after squandering the opportunity at a first round sweep, the Denver Nuggets held on in a back-and-forth game with a 112-109 Game 5 win, eliminating the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games.

After a Game 1 blowout Nuggets win, the next three games of this first round Western Conference series were very competitive. Game 5 was no different, with the Timberwolves leading by as many as 15 points before a comeback by the Nuggets and a back-and-forth fourth quarter that went down to the wire.

Anthony Edwards led the charge for the Timberwolves once again with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, but had a net-zero court rating. Karl Anthony-Towns finally came alive, getting involved with 26 points and getting to the free throw line a team-high nine times before eventually fouling out himself in the final minute.

For the Nuggets, it was the Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray show as usual. Jokic had an off shooting night, connecting on just 8-of-29 field goal attempts, but still finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists. Murray shot a more efficient 12-of-23 from the floor including 5-of-9 three-point shooting for a game-high 35 points.

Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown poured 14 points apiece and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 10 points for the Nuggets.

Despite being outshot 40% to 50.6% from the field by Minnesota, he Nuggets emerged victorious by virtue of 32 made free throws, compared to the Timberwolves’ 19 made foul shots.

The sold-out crowd at Ball Arena stayed until the final buzzer (at which time the Timberwolves could have sent the game to overtime with a tying three) as the Nuggets prospered 112-109 to advance to the second round of the playoffs following a first round exit to the Golden State Warriors last season.

Now, the Nuggets face perhaps their toughest adversary in the Western Conference: the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in five games in their first round series, and hold the conference’s fourth seed: which hardly seems fair with the immense amount of talent Phoenix possesses. Chalk it up to injury and the late in-season acquisition of Kevin Durant, but this current Suns team feels much more like a Western Conference Finals opponent than a second round, fourth seed opponent.

Denver will be tasked with stopping the three-headed monster of Durant, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul over the course of a seven game series.

Can the Nuggets beat Phoenix to advance to the Western Conference Finals? What is the key to beating the Suns? To join the conversation, be sure to follow Sak Sports Blog on Twitter.




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