Nuggets 3-pointers: Aaron Gordon the X-factor in Denver’s 112-97 win over Minnesota

Initial thoughts from the Nuggets matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday evening.

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Jokic takes over: Nikola Jokic may have laid any remaining doubts about him deserving three MVP titles in four years. After dropping 35 points in Game 4, Jokic seemed to have found another gear in the first half of Game 5 on Tuesday night. With less than seven minutes left in the opening quarter, Jokic dribbled down the floor, then took advantage of an opening lane by attacking the rim, cocking the ball back and throwing down a two-handed dunk. Later in the quarter, he tipped an entry pass to himself and spun around while the ball was in the air before converting a layup. And he didn’t stop there. In a one-on-one situation against Rudy Gobert, Jokic dribbled under the basket before converting a hook shot over the four-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Jokic scored 19 points in the first half, but his best basketball came in the third quarter, where he dropped 16, as he continued to punish Gobert.

Nuggets transition plays: Part of the reason Denver was able to generate momentum during certain parts of Game 5 was its ability to make plays in transition. Minnesota is the best defensive team in the league, but the Nuggets did a solid job of pushing the ball quickly down the floor, keeping the Timberwolves off balance. After Minnesota opened the third quarter on an 11-3 run, Denver responded with an 11-2 run. During that stretch, Jokic was in transition when he delivered a pass to Aaron Gordon for a dunk. Moments later, Jokic grabbed a defensive rebound before throwing the ball across the entire length of the floor to Jamal Murray for a dunk that extended the Nuggets’ lead to 64-57 with 7:16 to go in the quarter. Murray returned …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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