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Edwards, Towns combined with stifling defense, go up 2-0 in Western Semis

DENVER, CO. – The Minnesota Timberwolves, led by the dynamic duo of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, delivered a resounding blow to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night with a commanding 106-80 victory over the reigning NBA champions.

In a display of defensive prowess, the Wolves stifled the Nuggets, holding them to a dismal 29-of-83 shooting performance. Remarkably, this was achieved without their formidable defender, 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert, who was absent due to the birth of his son back in Minneapolis.

Towns and Edwards led the charge with 27 points each, propelling the Wolves to an impressive 6-0 record in the playoffs. With consecutive games scheduled in Minneapolis, the Wolves now have a prime opportunity to close out the Nuggets.

The frustration for the Nuggets was palpable, reaching a boiling point in the second quarter when coach Michael Malone erupted at an official, and point guard Jamal Murray tossed a heat pack onto the court in a fit of frustration. Murray’s actions went unnoticed by both Malone and the officials, but he is likely to face consequences from the NBA.

Despite Aaron Gordon’s 20-point effort and Nikola Jokic’s double-double performance, the Nuggets struggled to find their rhythm, with Jamal Murray notably shooting just 3-of-18 from the field.

Replacing Gobert in the starting lineup, Kyle Anderson made significant contributions with eight assists and nine rebounds, while reserves Naz Reid and Nickeil Alexander-Walker chipped in with 14 points each.

During a dominant first-half display by the Timberwolves, even with Edwards briefly on the bench, the Nuggets’ frustration boiled over, culminating in Malone’s confrontation with an official during a timeout.

Trailing by a staggering 26 points at halftime, the Nuggets faced their largest halftime deficit in franchise history for a home playoff game.

Now, facing an uphill battle, the Nuggets must find a way to contain Edwards to mount a comeback in the series. Edwards, however, remains confident that the Nuggets will bounce back in Game 3, acknowledging the caliber of the defending champions and expecting a different performance in the upcoming games at Target Center.

“It worked in our favor tonight, man. That’s all that was,” Edwards remarked. “We made shots. They didn’t. That’s the defending champs over there. So, they’re not going to come out and play like that again in Game 3.”