Timberwolves fall at Nuggets, drop to No. 2 spot in Western Conference race

Anthony Edwards (5) of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives as Christian Braun (0), Nikola Jokic (15) and Michael Porter Jr. (1) of the Denver Nuggets defend during the first quarter at Ball Arena in Denver on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.  ((Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post))

The Minnesota Timberwolves missed out on a golden opportunity to control the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs with two games to play in a 116-107 loss at the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.

The Timberwolves had a 52-49 lead at the half, but had no answer for Nikola Jokic, who had 41 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Jamal Murray added 20 points, four rebounds and six assists, and Michael Porter Jr. had 18 points and eight rebounds.

Minnesota now needs wins over Atlanta on Friday and Phoenix on Sunday, and losses by Denver and Oklahoma City in one of their final two regular season games, to earn the No. 1 seed. The Nuggets face San Antonio and Memphis on the road, and Oklahoma City hosts Milwaukee and Dallas to end its regular season.

Anthony Edwards had 25 points to lead the Timberwolves. Mike Conley Jr. had 19 points and four rebounds, and Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 15 rebounds. It was a tough night for Naz Reid and Jaden McDaniels, who shot a combined 10-of-27 from the field and 1-of-8 from the perimeter in the loss.

The Timberwolves and Nuggets were tied 84-84 with 9:30 to play, and Denver sealed the win with a 26-10 run.

Denver is now the No. 1 team in the West with two regular season games left. The Timberwolves are tied with the Thunder for the No. 2 spot.