NBA Fans Blast Nikola Jokić, Nuggets as Anthony Edwards, Wolves Take 2-0 Series Lead

Scott LogoFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2024

DENVER, CO - MAY 6: Jamal Murray (27) of the Denver Nuggets lies on the floor expecting a charging call against Karl-Anthony Towns (32) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter at Ball Arena in Denver on Monday, May 6, 2024. The call would not come resulting in an eruption by Nuggets head coach Michael Malone. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

The reigning champions are on the ropes.

The Minnesota Timberwolves shocked the Denver Nuggets with a 106-80 victory in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series on Monday at Ball Arena. Minnesota won each of the first two contests on the road and now has a 2-0 lead with the chance to win the series in the next two games at home.

And it won Game 2 without its defensive anchor since Rudy Gobert was out for personal reasons with the birth of his first child.

Anthony Edwards (27 points and seven assists on 11-of-17 shooting from the field) and Karl-Anthony Towns (27 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting from the field) helped make up for his absence, while the Minnesota defense set the tone from the start.

Nikola Jokić had 16 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, but Jamal Murray went 3-of-18 from the field while the Nuggets as a whole drew criticism for their performance:

Kevin O’Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

It’s unbelievable how much better the Timberwolves look than the Nuggets right now. This is CRAZY

Myron Medcalf @MedcalfByESPN

The Timberwolves don’t think the Nuggets belong on the same floor with them. And I can’t think of the last time a team stepped to a defending champ like this in their building.

Swipa @SwipaCam

They should be embarrassed. It’s really that simple. They have come completely apart.

Adam Mares @Adam_Mares

We have never seen the Nuggets unravel like this. Completely shook. This Timberwolves defense has squashed them.

Rich Eisen @richeisen

Live shot from Denver

NBA Memes @NBAMemes

Live look at Nikola Jokic playing defense this postseason…

LakeShowYo @LakeShowYo

Murray & Jokic when it’s not D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura on defense

Rob Perez @WorldWideWob

been more than two years since they looked this mortal.

Insane Asylum Sources @hmfaigen

Naz Reid should tell Jokic the next five years are his

Robby Kalland @RKalland

didn’t think it was possible for a star player to annoy me more than hali did tonight with their performance but kudos to murray for pulling it off lol

Daman Rangoola @damanr

This game needed “hair on fire” Jokic who sensed the team didn’t have it and he needed to come out chucking and open everything up

Jeff Mangurten @JeffGurt

Nuggets body language right now reminding me of the 2007 Heat team that the Bulls swept in the first round. Defending champions realizing that winning another one is going to be even more effort than the first one and just being happy with the one.

Jonathan Von Tobel @meJVT

The Nuggets falling apart mentally is not something I had on my bingo card.

Dan Favale @danfavale

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Murray’s been awful, terrible, no good. He’s also given what he has, he’s just not good on the calf and in the matchup. He should adapt more, for sure, but the effort is there. (Heat pack was embarrassing.)

Not the same for all Nuggets.

Jason Timpf @_JasonLT

Regardless of what happens the rest of this game, if Denver goes to the press and complains about the physicality, this thing is over.

It’s not changing. They need to embrace it and meet that level.

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

It feels the product of hubris. They were not hungry the whole year. Got reliant on clutch performances.

All the pressure was on Denver since the Timberwolves already stole home-court advantage with their Game 1 win. That the visitors were playing without Gobert only made it feel like more of a must-win for a Nuggets team facing a playoff series deficit for the first time since 2022.

And Denver cracked under that pressure.

Minnesota stunned the crowd by jumping out to a commanding 26-point halftime lead with Towns and Edwards expectedly leading the way. It was far from just the stars, though, as the Timberwolves’ team defense stifled everyone but Aaron Gordon in the first half and turned Jokić into a turnover machine at times.

Frustration was the prevalent theme for Denver, so much so that Murray even threw a heat pack onto the court from the bench as the game was ongoing:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Jamal Murray threw a heat pack onto the court 😳

sreekar @sreekyshooter

Jamal Murray is now the second most famous Canadian in the last 24 hours to publicly throw in the towel after underperforming in the face of intense pressure

It’s been a long time since the second half of a Nuggets playoff game was largely a formality because they were the ones trailing by so much. But that was the reality Monday, which is a testament to Minnesota’s incredible performance and Jokić and Co. looking uncharacteristically terrible.

Even when the home team took some momentum into the fourth quarter by trimming the deficit from 32 to 22, the Timberwolves answered with critical three-pointers from Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Towns and Edwards.

The latter even added more fuel to the Michael Jordan comparisons with a shrug celebration:



The result was an outcome that was never truly in doubt, and the Timberwolves will now look to pull further ahead of the Nuggets when the series shifts to Minnesota for Friday’s Game 3.

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