The Wolves Stole Game 1 From The Nuggets Behind Anthony Edwards’ Playoff Career High

For the second time in their last two playoff runs and for the first time since March 29 of this year, the Nuggets lost a basketball game in Denver. The Minnesota Timberwolves walked into the Mile High City on Saturday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, and managed to knock off the defending champions, 106-99, behind one of the more Michael Jordan-esque performances of Anthony Edwards‘ ascending career.

The Wolves began Game 1 on fire, as the team opened things up by scoring the first nine points. Eventually, their lead got up to an 18-4 margin, which forced a timeout, took the crowd at Ball Arena completely out of the game, and made Denver look like it had no clue what hit them. This was thanks in large part to the play of Edwards, who took it right to them and had 16 in the first quarter.

And then, the championship meddle the Nuggets possess reared its head. Denver caught fire to end the quarter, as the team responded from that timeout by ripping off 13 points in a row. With Reggie Jackson providing a shot in the arm off the bench, the Nuggets were able to take a 25-23 lead into the second.

While the first quarter was defined by both teams throwing major haymakers and going on lengthy runs, the second featured both of them settling in a bit. This, in turn, led to a bit of a slog, as neither team scored 20 points in the period or was able to open up a lead that made them feel comfortable. Ultimately, the teams went into the locker room with Denver holding onto a 44-40 lead.

The story of the first half was the play of Edwards, who very much rose to the occasion in his first conference semifinal game. While the rest of his team struggled, Edwards scored 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting with four rebounds, a steal, and a block. Denver, meanwhile, was led by the 1-2 punch of Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. — the former had 15 points, five assists, four rebounds, and a steal, while the latter scored 13 points with three boards and two steals.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Mike Conley started to answer the bell in the third quarter. The duo combined to go 9-for-9 and give Edwards — who hit the 30-point mark on the night in the frame — some much-needed support. And as a result, the Timberwolves were finally able to take the lead, as they ended the quarter up 73-71.

Neither team was able to create much breathing room early on in the fourth quarter, as they passed the lead back and forth over the opening few minutes due to some incredible shot making.

There was even a quick Naz Reid takeover (he scored 10 points in a row for his team) to give Minnesota a 6-point lead.

With Reid and Edwards spearheading the effort, Minnesota was able to go on an 18-7 run to open up an 11-point lead. And while Denver showed its resiliency to start battling back and make things interesting down the stretch, it was Edwards who slammed the door, as he broke their full-court press with less than 30 seconds left and got a layup.

Edwards was nothing short of brilliant on the night, as he scored 43 points on 17-for-29 shooting with seven points, three assists, two blocks, and a steal. Towns went for 20 points, while Reid scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. While Jokic stuffed the stat sheet — 32 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, three steals — he had an uncharacteristic seven turnovers, too. And while Porter (20 points) and Jamal Murray (17 points) hit the double-figure mark, no one else on Denver’s roster had more than nine points.

Game 2 between the Nuggets and the Timberwolves will take place in Denver on Monday night. The game is scheduled to tip at 10 p.m. EST on TNT.