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Published Time: 20.05.2024 - 05:13:11 Modified Time: 20.05.2024 - 05:13:11

Context: The Nuggets scored fewer than 100 points just twice during their magic carpet ride to the NBA title a year ago. Minnesota held Denver to under 100 four times this series. The Wolves won all four games. Anthony Edwards


Ant-Man didn’t just laugh loudest. He laughed last.

“I had Jamal (Murray) in handcuffs,” Anthony Edwards chuckled as he walked the halls of Ball Arena after Minnesota stunned the Nuggets, 98-90, to win Game 7 of their second-round series.

“I mean, it showed us who we are,” Edwards said after his Wolves rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit and handed the Nuggets their first Game 7 postseason loss since 2019.

“Offense played OK. But once we lock in on the defensive side, we are a (heck) of a team to beat.”

Context: The Nuggets scored fewer than 100 points just twice during their magic carpet ride to the NBA title a year ago. Minnesota held Denver to under 100 four times this series. The Wolves won all four games.

“We said to ourselves all series (that) ‘Our best is better than their best,'” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “And we just had to play our best.”

It sure took a while — almost three quarters — for No. 5 to get his Michael Jordan mojo back.

“I’m trash, 6 of 24 (shooting),” Edwards groused as he looked at the box score at his postgame news conference. “2 for 10 (on 3-pointers), (expletive).

“But look, we’re all plus-minus in the positive.”

They were. And man, did that hurt. The Joker hit a wall. Karl-Anthony Towns (23 points, 12 boards) hit big bucket after big bucket. Rudy Gobert hit a miracle turnaround, for pity’s sake.

When Rudy’s doing his best Kevin Durant, well … ain’t your night. Ain’t your series, either.

“When Rudy hit the turnaround I was like, ‘Yeah, we probably got ‘em,'” laughed Edwards, who scored 16 points, pulled down eight boards and dished out seven assists.

Edwards only put up 12 points in the final two quarters. But he did almost as much damage on the defensive end, helping to hold Murray to 11 points after halftime.  When Mike Conley picked the Blue Arrow’s pocket at midcourt with 3:07 left, the Nuggets’ fifth turnover of the second half, the veteran point guard shoveled it to Naz Reid, who found Edwards wide open in the right corner.

The young guard connected from deep to put Minnesota up 92-82, capping a bonkers 31-17 Wolves run.

The Nuggets had a plan. For a half, it even worked. Ant-Man’s first Game 7 was setting up to be anything but a picnic.

For the first 24 minutes, the Nuggets doubled No. 5. They trapped. They went crazy on screens with Conley. They overloaded Edwards’ half of the court when he went to the strong side. Two dudes. Three dudes.

Edwards was heard on the live microphone during the first half pleading to his teammates: “In order for them to stop doubling me,” the next MJ said, “I need you to hit.”

In the first half, they didn’t. At all. While Ant went into the break with a 1-for-7 shooting line, including 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, backcourt mates Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker were a combined 1 for 12 from the floor, 1 for 7 on treys.

That third quarter, though, the script flipped.

“I’m going to force ’em back downhill,” Edwards said during halftime warm-ups. “Watch the backdoor.”

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