2023 NBA Playoffs - Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets
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The Denver Nuggets pulled out a 122-113 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 2 on Wednesday night to extend their lead in the first-round series between the two teams to 2-0. The series will now shift to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4, where the Wolves will look to climb back into it. Before moving ahead to those games, here's a look at three key takeaways from Denver's victory. 

1. A Murray flurry

The last time we saw Jamal Murray in the postseason, he was putting on an absolute show in the Orlando bubble as the Nuggets made it all the way to the Western Conference finals. He established himself as an elite playoff performer during that run. Unfortunately, Murray missed the past two postseasons due to an ACL injury, so he couldn't build upon his heroics from Orlando. Now that he's healthy again, though, he's clearly ready to remind people how deadly he can be when the brightest lights shine. 

After posting a solid 24-8-8 stat line in the series' first game, Murray exploded in Game 2 with a 40-point performance, or a 40-piece wing dinner lemon pepper style, as ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins would say. Murray connected on 13 of his 22 attempts from the field and six of his nine attempts from long range. He also added five assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Murray dropped 22 of his 40 points in the second half, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to close out the win for Denver. His shot-making was incredible, as he got basically whatever shot he wanted against Minnesota's defense. 

Murray also made some history with his performance. He now has the most 40-point playoff games in Nuggets history with five.

The fact that he looked as good as he did in this game bodes well for Denver's hopes of making a deep postseason run. 

2. Playoff career high for Edwards 

Murray wasn't the only player in the game who scored 40 points. In fact, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards actually bested Murray by one point. Edwards finished the game with a playoff career-high 41 points to go along with four assists and two rebounds. Edwards scored 27 points after halftime as he made a valiant effort to help Minnesota win. 

Ultimately Edwards' production wasn't enough to help Minnesota avoid falling into a 2-0 hole, but his effort is worthy of applause. Watching two of the league's best young guards in Murray and Edwards trade baskets was easily one of the highlights of this game. 

If the Timberwolves have any chance of climbing back into it, Edwards will have to lead the way. So, this might not be the last time we see him put up some big numbers in this series.

3. Missing KAT

Minnesota's struggles to start this series can't be pinned on one player, but they need more from Karl Anthony-Towns, who has been a virtual no-show. 

In Game 1, Towns scored just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the floor, and some of those points were acquired in garbage time when the outcome was already decided. Keep in mind this is the team's second-highest-paid player. A multiple-time All-Star who wants to be viewed as one of the league's elite players. But, instead of using that underwhelming Game 1 performance as motivation to come out better -- and more aggressive -- in the next game, Towns did the exact opposite. 

Towns scored just 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting on Wednesday night, and he was essentially a non-factor. That simply can't be the case. If the Wolves are going to have any chance to make this a series, Towns will have to be much more assertive and post numbers that are at least in line with his regular-season average of 20 points per performance, if not more. 

Look for Towns to come out with some added aggression in front of Minnesota's home crowd in Game 3. If he doesn't do so and again allows the game to pass him by, it will be fair to question what type of competitor he truly is.