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Timberwolves knock out holders Nuggets, Pacers overcome Knicks

The Minnesota Timberwolves stunned the defending NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets, with a 98-90 victory, erasing a 20-point deficit to advance in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers ousted the New York Knicks with a record-setting offensive performance, winning 130-109.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Jaden McDaniels also scored 23 points. Anthony Edwards played a crucial role in the comeback, particularly in the second half. Minnesota, trailing by 15 points at halftime, managed to close the gap and eventually took the lead in the fourth quarter.

Edwards credited their success to staying calm under pressure. “We was just poised throughout the entire game. We just fought, fought,” he said. “And KAT played spectacular tonight. He carried us tonight.”

Rudy Gobert’s driving layup early in the fourth quarter gave Minnesota a lead they never relinquished. Nikola Jokic, despite scoring 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and adding 19 rebounds and seven assists, couldn’t save the Nuggets. “I felt like we got the shots we wanted and the opportunities were there,” said Jamal Murray, who scored 35 points for Denver.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch praised his team’s resilience. “This is a hell of a team with the best player on the planet. The series was wild, and this game was just a microcosm of the series,” Finch said. The Timberwolves will face the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.

In New York, the Pacers set an NBA playoff record by making 67.1 percent of their shots in their victory over the Knicks. Tyrese Haliburton scored 26 points, with Pascal Siakam and Andrew Nembhard adding 20 each. Donte DiVincenzo led the Knicks with 39 points, including nine three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough. Jalen Brunson scored 17 points and had nine assists before leaving with a broken left hand.

The Pacers secured their first road win of the series by shooting 76.3 percent in the first half. Despite a brief comeback attempt by the Knicks, Indiana maintained control. “We hadn’t won on the road all series — we just found a way,” Haliburton said.

The Knicks, already missing key players, were further hampered when OG Anunoby, who returned from injury, had to leave the game early. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged the team’s effort despite their depleted roster. “It was a battle all year and there was nothing left to give at the end,” he said.

The Pacers will face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.

(Source: AFP)

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