The final was 88-82.
Whomever was the schedule-maker that estimated the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets should play one another in the final game of the season is getting a raise. Denver led by five after the opening quarter, trailed by seven at the half and by three after three quarters before outscoring the Trail Blazers 22-13 in the fourth.
Gibson played through a sore neck that forced him out of the last game in the first quarter, finishing with eight points in 35 minutes. They are sixth in the National Basketball Association scoring 109.3 points a game on the road but their defense is what hurts them. The Nuggets struggle on the road so much that it should continue into tonight's game. This was the same for the win-or-go home matchup against Minnesota, but the only thing is that late in the game, defenses adjust.
Andrew Wiggins sank two foul shots with 15 seconds remaining to finish with 18 points, and the Wolves were finally on their way to a celebration more than a decade in the making. That was just tough, physical for 48 minutes. The Nuggets are now tied for 10 in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 47 percent from the field. Murray initiated another step back, bounced behind the line and chucked up a massively important three pointer that took it's sweet time traveling through the air.
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Karl Anthony-Towns had his league leading 68th double-double of the year with 26 points, 14 rebounds. Will Barton's come alive as well, pouring in 20.3 points a night.
On the season, the Rockets are averaging 112.7 points, 43.5 rebounds and 21.7 assists per game.
"We shouldn't have even been in that position at all", said Harris, who scored 10 points in 20 minutes in his second game back from his knee injury.
Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 24 points and 18 rebounds while Jeff Teague added 24 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Of course, if not for Taj Gibson's clutch steal in regulation, perhaps the Timberwolves never would've gotten the chance. The Rockets also have home court advantage throughout the postseason.
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Minnesota has an uphill battle ahead of them here.
Wiggins was horrendous in the prior meeting between these two teams, but he was on his game in this one.
Riding an MVP-worthy season from James Harden, sturdy leadership from the newcomer, Chris Paul, and a retooled bench, the Rockets have had an incredible season. Barton again provided a spark with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Six months of the regular season and 81 games apiece has brought up to this. But in a playoff race appropriately dubbed the Wild West, Denver needed one more victory in a rare play-in game against a division foe.
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Actually, for Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte, the end came in their season finales Tuesday. We looked at basketball betting odds over the last several seasons and couldn't find a more straight-forward scenario that boiled down to the two teams in contention playing one another with the victor in the final game of the season moving on.
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