Timberwolves Win 115-70 to Force Game 7

According to Minnesota star Anthony Edwards, Mike Conley was the difference between the Wolves and the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. The Wolves began the series with back-to-back wins in Denver but had lost Games 3-5. Conley missed Game 5 with a sore right Achilles tendon — Minnesota lost by 15.

“We got Mike Conley back,” Edwards said. “That was it.”

With Conley out in Game 5, Edwards was asked to initiate the offense and his game struggled as a result. Last night, Conley’s return allowed Edwards and the rest of the offense to assume their normal roles. In Minnesota’s dominant 45-point win, Edwards posted a +43. The star finished with 27 points on 8-of-17 from the floor. Conley played 31 minutes and contributed 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.

“Obviously I wanted to play last game,” Conley said. “Just couldn’t move at all. Tonight it was a no-brainer. I was going to try to find a way. We’re just better when we’re a complete team.”

“Mike means everything for us,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “Unbelievable next to Anthony in terms of being able to set him up, play off of him, be in his ear all of the time. Smart defender. Just everything you want in an experienced, veteran point guard and just the very fact that Ant doesn’t have to handle it every single time, that alone helps us. … We desperately missed him the other night.”

Minnesota’s defense was back to an elite level in Game 6, as well. The Nuggets shot 30.2% overall and 19.4% from three. Nikola Jokic scored 22 of Denver’s 70 points but was limited to just two assists. Jamal Murray finished 4-of-18 and was a -32 for the night. Now, the Wolves will head back to Denver for Game 7 with an opportunity to eliminate the defending champions.

“They’re the defending champs, so it’s going to be super tough,” Edwards said. “They’re at home. They’re at the crib. Their fans are crazy. It’s going to be super loud. But I feel like as a competitor, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. … I’m super pumped for it. I’m super happy. I’m ready to play it.”