The Minnesota Timberwolves avoided being swept in the first round with an impressive 114-108 victory over Denver in Game 4 of the series. Now, they'll look to extend the series again in Game 5, while the Nuggets will again look to send the Wolves home and advance themselves. The victor of this series will play the winner of the series between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. The Suns currently hold a 3-1 lead in that one.
Reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic did everything he could for Denver in Game 4, as he finished with 43 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. His production wasn't quite enough though, as the Wolves rode the hot hand of Anthony Edwards (34 points, six rebounds, five assists) to their first victory of the series. In Game 5 it could very well come down to which one of those guys is able to get more help.
Ahead of Game 5, here's a look at the start time, viewing information, odds, storylines and a prediction for the contest.
(1) Denver Nuggets vs. (8) Minnesota Timberwolves
- Series: Game 5, Nuggets lead 3-1
- Date: Tuesday, April 25 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Ball Arena -- Denver, Colorado
- TV channel: NBA TV
- Odds: Nuggets -10; O/U 220.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Nuggets: Denver could use a big game from Jamal Murray to close out the series. Murray dropped 40 points in Game 3, but scored just 37 points total over the next two games while shooting under 50 percent from the floor both games. A bounce back game from him could be the difference between moving on and another game against Minnesota for the Nuggets. It sounds like Murray is ready for the moment.
"That's a missed opportunity, but we're still in the lead, we've still got a commanding lead, and we're going to go back home to our place and do what we need to do," Murray said after Game 4.
Timberwolves: For the Wolves, avoiding being swept was a matter of pride. "I take pride. I didn't want to say I got swept," Anthony Edwards said after the game. "I don't ever want to say I got swept in my career. So, I definitely took it personally tonight."
"We show grit," Karl-Anthony Towns added of Minnesota. "It's weird, when our backs are against the wall, we seem to find a way to get a win. It's great that we got it tonight and we've got to do it three more times."
They're saying the right things, but the Wolves need to continue to play with that pride and grit that they mentioned if they want to extend the series again and force a sixth game back in Minnesota. They need to come out focused and aggressive, and maintain that approach for 48 minutes. If they can, they should have an opportunity to secure a second straight win.
After letting one slip away on the road, expect the Nuggets to come out focused and motivated in front of their home fans for Game 5. However, the Wolves will be fighting hard to keep their season alive, and they did some stuff last game that they can build upon in this game. As a result, Denver will get the win because they're a more talented team, but they won't cover the spread. Pick: Timberwolves +10