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Timberwolves overcome 20-point deficit to stun defending champion Nuggets in Game 7

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The NBA Conference Finals take place after the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Denver Nuggets 98-90 in the second Game 7 on Sunday.

Unlike the league’s previous Game 7, when the Indiana Pacers made history with their fantastic shooting in a dominant win over the New York Knicks, this was a dogfight in which Minnesota did not pull away until late in the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets, the reigning NBA champions playing at home in this game, had all the momentum going for them on Sunday – to where they held a 20-point lead, 58-38, early in the third quarter.

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Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against Christian Braun #0 of the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs at Ball Arena on Sunday in Denver. (C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

Then Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards finally got shots going, and good offense led to great defense on the other end of the floor.

The Timberwolves won the third quarter 28-14, and they kept that going in the fourth quarter. Minnesota would have a 30-point swing, capped by a three-pointer from Edwards, making it 92-82 with 3:07 left in the game.

Nuggets fans at Ball Arena screamed to keep their team in it, but the Timberwolves’ rush ultimately proved too much.

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Nikola Jokic, who was gassed after just one minute at the end of this game, made his final bucket with 1:02 to go and cut the T-Wolves’ lead to five points. There was still a fleeting chance they could come back, but Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota’s co-leading scorer – put an exclamation point on the victory with a putback dunk on a missed Mike Conley layup.

Towns finished with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting with 12 rebounds, two steals, two assists and one block to help his team reach the Conference Finals. Teammate Jaden McDaniels also scored 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers with six rebounds.

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks to pass against Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the third quarter in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs at Ball Arena on Sunday in Denver. (C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

McDaniels’ performance was necessary because Edwards, Minnesota’s leading scorer, didn’t have the best day with the rock in his hand. He finished with 16 points on 6-of-24 shooting, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.

His hustle never let up, though, as he had eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals for the T-Wolves.

Minnesota also saw quality minutes from the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, Naz Reid, who had some big successes in the fourth quarter, including a Towns-style putback dunk. He had 11 points and four rebounds.

For the Nuggets, they failed to hit their shots from three and finished at 24.2% as a team. Jokic, who went 2-for-10 from there, finished with 34 points and 19 rebounds in his marathon of a Game 7.

Jamal Murray had a game-high 35 points, but he also struggled from three points, with only four of his 12 attempts failing. He shot 13 of 27 overall with three rebounds and three assists.

Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates a three-point basket during the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs at Ball Arena on Sunday in Denver. (C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

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After the stunning come-from-behind victory, Minnesota will now host Dallas on Wednesday to kick off the series that will determine who represents the West in the NBA Finals.

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