Down 20 in Game 7, Wolves oust Nuggets to reach Western finals

Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 20-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Denver Nuggets 98-90 in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday night.

Minnesota advances to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years after winning in Denver for the third time in the series. The Timberwolves won Game 7 against the Sacramento Kings in 2004 to reach the conference finals.

Minnesota, the No. 3 seed, hosts No. 5 Dallas in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

Jaden McDaniels scored 22 points and Anthony Edwards was 6-for-24 shooting but finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to end the Nuggets’ bid for a second straight NBA title. Rudy Gobert was big down the stretch, scoring eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Nikola Jokic had 34 points and 19 rebounds and Jamal Murray scored 35 points for Denver. It is the second time in six seasons the Nuggets have lost a Game 7 at home.

Minnesota took its first lead since the first quarter on Rudy Gobert’s floater early in the fourth quarter and stretched it 77-72. Jokic missed his first six 3-pointers but hit two from deep to keep the Nuggets close.

Naz Reid, who scored 11 points, hit two free throws, blocked Jokic’s floater and had a putback dunk. Edwards drained a 3-pointer off a Murray turnover to put the Timberwolves ahead 92-82 with 3:07 left.

Denver closed within 93-88 with 1:02 left but Towns tip-in sealed Minnesota’s trip to the conference finals.

The Nuggets staged a 16-0 run spanning the first and second quarters and led 53-38 at halftime. They pushed it to 58-38 early in the third and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a 17-footer that would have made it a 22-point lead.

The Timberwolves came storming back, using a 19-3 run to get within 61-57 with 3:05 left in the period. Towns hit a pair of free throws to get Minnesota within two, and Edwards drained a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to make it 67-66 heading into the fourth.