MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years after shooting down the Denver Nuggets 112-106 on Wednesday night in a winning overtime thriller.
Jimmy Butler plays In only his third game since returning from knee surgery, he helped lead the Timberwolves across the finish line, scoring 29 points, scoring five assists and earning five rebounds. Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that he would extend Butler's minute "guideline" when needed, and he did just that by using Butler for 42 minutes. Jeff Teague finished with 17 points, including a tall runner with the scrap time in overtime.
Many in the Timberwolves organization were not sure how Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins would respond to the challenge of playing on the biggest. The regular season may provide the final game, but both could make enough games to win the Timber wolves over the top to bring. The cities set a good tone early on for the Timberwolves and played with intensity throughout the biggest game of the year, finishing with 26 points and 1
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Nikola Jokic had a huge game for the Nuggets, went for 35 points and got 10 rebounds, but his inexperienced group could not make enough defensive stoppages when they hit them on the track needed. Nuggets guard Will Barton had a very solid performance that reached 24 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. The Nuggets will not be happy with the end result, but they have a lot of young talents that they can build in the years to come.
For the Timberwolves, the victory must be a great relief to the shoulders of Thibodeau and his players. After buying Butler in the summer from the Chicago Bulls, this should be the season in which they could make a big step in their development. The absence of the playoffs would have been a disaster for the group.
While the Timberwolves were unable to maintain the momentum they had built up earlier in the season after Butler's injury injury to his knee, Thibodeau can refer to the playoff appearance as a positive sign of the future for a team , which urgently needed to see signs of growth this season.
The Timberwolves will confront the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals this weekend.