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Wolves' Playoff Drought - NBA's Longest - Is Finally Over

Wolves' Playoff Drought - NBA's Longest - Is Finally Over

The Denver Nuggets' season ended in heartbreaking fashion, falling 112-106 in overtime at Minnesota in a rare winner-take-all game for the final playoff spot in a brutal Western Conference.

It's not that Timberwolves have such a slight chance of surviving the Rockets, their first-round opponent starting Saturday or Sunday in Houston; any team would. They extended the lead to ten points in the second quarter.

Eric Moreland also had a big night, posting career highs with 16 points and 17 rebounds along with four assists, four steals and four blocks.

With possession of the ball just outside the arc, the center faked a 3-pointer, which Nikola Jokic fell for, resulting in space behind him being created for the Minnesota star to drive in to.

Jokic, who'd been held quiet when the game started, had exploded in the second half, with 17 points in the third quarter alone. The Rockets are the number one seed overall after winning 65 games in the regular season, a franchise record.

This means that in the four meetings with Minnesota, the Rockets have scored almost 18 more points per 100 possessions than their yearly average while posting a 4-0 record in the process.

When the final horn blew, the capacity and white-towel-waving crowd at Target Center stood to soak in Minnesota's first postseason appearance since 2004. Their reward for ending a 14-year playoff drought?

Nuggets: Jokic posted his seventh 30-point game of the season, three of those in the last six games.

Andrew Wiggins sank two foul shots with 15 seconds remaining to make it 110-106 and finish with 18 points, and the Wolves were finally on their way to a celebration more than a decade in the making.

Butler finished the game with 31 points, five rebounds, five assists, and was 10-of-21 in shooting from the field, but Towns was arguably better as he finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, and was 12-of-19 in shooting from the field. He also had six points and 19 assists against the Grizzlies to finish the season with averages of 25.4 and 10.3, respectively, in those categories. Moreover, the Wolves' inability to guard the three-point line will lead to an early exit. Anthony Tolliver had 18 points, and Henry Ellenson contributed 14 points with 10 rebounds for Detroit. Rookie Lauri Markkanen had 20 points for Chicago. They made it all the way to the Conference Finals, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Jamal Crawford missed a long 3-pointer that would've won the game in regulation, and these evenly matched teams fittingly played an overtime.


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