SI:AM | Timberwolves Stomp Nuggets to Set Up Game 7 in Denver

The defending champs got run out of the gym.
Conley put up 13 points, five assists and four rebounds in Game 6.
Conley put up 13 points, five assists and four rebounds in Game 6. / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, I’m Dan Gartland. I would have finished this column sooner if I hadn’t been so distracted by the Scottie Scheffler news.

In today’s SI:AM:

😳 Scottie Scheffler arrested

🏎️ F1 preview
⛹️‍♀️ Another rough night for Caitlin Clark

What an odd series

The Minnesota Timberwolves looked lost in Game 5 of their series against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Without starting point guard Mike Conley in the lineup due to an ankle injury, the Timberwolves were held under 100 points for just the second time this postseason in a 112–97 loss.

The series started so promisingly for Minnesota, winning the first two games in Denver, including a victory in Game 2 in which the T-Wolves gave up just 80 points despite missing the Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. But then the Nuggets won the first two games in Minneapolis to tie the series, and a dominant win in Game 5 made it three victories in a row for Denver, forcing the T-Wolves into a must-win game on Thursday.

And win they did. By a lot. Minnesota ran the Nuggets off the floor in Game 6, winning 115–70. That’s right. The Nuggets scored just 70 points. They had nine games this season in which they scored 70 points by halftime.

“They beat our ass,” Nikola Jokić said.

So what went differently from Game 5? According to Minnesota star Anthony Edwards, it was simple.

“We got Mike Conley back,” Edwards said. “That was it.”

Conley’s return certainly helped, but you can’t chalk up a 45-point victory to the presence of one player. And Edwards definitely deserves a ton of credit, too. He led all scorers with 27 points and also harangued Jamal Murray on defense. Murray, who’s dealing with an injured elbow, managed just 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting.

It was stunning to see the defending champions fall so flat in a potential close-out game. (The Nuggets’ .302 field goal percentage was their worst in a game since 2003.) But it wasn’t surprising to see Edwards come out with his hair on fire and ensure that his team’s season wouldn’t end that night. Edwards’s relentless confidence—and his ability to back up that confidence with his play—has been one of the most memorable parts of these playoffs. And Thursday was no different. Not only did Edwards score an efficient 27 points in just 34 minutes of action, he also gleefully confirmed reports that he’d delivered a bold message to a Nuggets staffer after his team’s Game 5 loss in Denver.

“Hell yeah. They [the media] know, y’all was in there,” Edwards said. “I told them, I said, ‘I’ll see y’all m------------ for Game 7.”

Edwards may have credited the 36-year-old Conley with being the reason the T-Wolves won the game, but Edwards is the reason the team finds itself in this position. He’s developed into one of the best scoring threats in the game, but the 22-year-old has also emerged as the leader of a Timberwolves team with plenty of experienced players.

There aren’t many situations in sports more intimidating than playing a Game 7 on the road against the defending champions as a team that hasn’t reached the conference finals in 20 years. But if Edwards has made one thing clear this postseason it’s that he isn’t intimidated by anything.

Scottie Scheffler waits for his turn on the 11th hole during the second day of the PGA Championship.
Scheffler (left) was arrested for a traffic violation entering Valhalla Golf Club on Friday morning. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

The best of Sports Illustrated

The top five…

… things I saw yesterday:

5. The scene outside Dodger Stadium as fans lined up to try to get Shohei Ohtani bobbleheads.
4. A powerful dunk by Anthony Edwards.
3. J.T. Miller’s winning goal for the Vancouver Canucks with less than a minute left.
2. Chris Kreider’s three third-period goals, including the game-winner as the New York Rangers eliminated the Carolina Hurricanes.
1. Canes winger Jordan Martinook’s diving effort to swat the puck off the goal line.

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Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).