National Basketball Association roundup: Wolves nip Nuggets in OT, snatch playoff spot

The Timberwolves' win secured the eighth place in the Western Conference, setting up a nightmare first-round series with the first-place Houston Rockets.

The Nuggets took an early lead, but the Wolves quickly pounced on a exhausted Nuggets team that could no longer buy a basket.

Sophomore guard Jamal Murray chipped in 20 points, six rebounds and six assists for Denver, shaking off a slow start to get hot late in the fourth quarter and spark what looked like it might be a season-saving comeback for the Nuggets, who'd entered Wednesday having won six straight games to give themselves a chance to vault into the playoffs on the season's final night.

The roster was on display Wednesday as the Wolves faced off against the Nuggets.

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It's the first time since 1997 - and only the third time since the National Basketball Association went to this postseason format in 1983 - that two teams will play on the season's final day in such a situation. Towns and Gibson defended and crashed the boards, while Butler and Wiggins iced the game with free throws. The Spurs (47-35) are the seventh seed, and they will play second-seeded Golden State in the first round.

The Timberwolves ultimately held on for the victory, with the capacity and white-towel-waving crowd at Target Center standing to soak in the moment as the final horn sounded. The fans even chanted "MVP!" "I'll probably fall asleep and in the middle of the night and wake up and start crying". He captured the feeling of his franchise and city after finally snapping Minnesota's 14-year playoff drought. "It'll hit me, what happened".

There are nine teams who know Wednesday is the last day of their season. Unfortunately, a date with Houston, who beat the Wolves three times this season, is their reward. None other than the Houston Rockets. Karl-Anthony Towns continues to be a force, averaging 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

Both Harden and Paul have struggled in the post-season, but things are different this year in Houston. Neither team scored again, with a Butler jumper clanking off the rim with seven seconds remaining, before Jokic lost the ball out of bounds in the corner with one second remaining thanks to swarming defense by Taj Gibson. The Rockets are 4-0 in the regular season against the Timberwolves, so some fans are confident the Rockets can get the job done.

  • Rogelio Becker