Tuesday, May 21, 2024

NBA play-offs: Nikola Jokic helps Denver Nuggets peg back Minnesota Timberwolves in semi-final series

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Nikola Jokic starred as the Denver Nuggets, defending NBA champions, beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-90 to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in the Western Conference semi-finals of the play-offs.

Serbian Jokic, who joined some of the NBA’s all-time greats by winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award for the third time on Thursday, scored 24 points while recording 14 rebounds and nine assists.

His efforts in Minneapolis were complimented by Canadian Jamal Murray’s 24 points.

“I think we played much simpler. We were more aggressive than them,” said Jokic.

“I think that’s definitely the thing that changed the game.”

The Nuggets, who led by as many as 34 points at one stage, dominated the Timberwolves, with all five starters scoring double figures.

Game four of the best-of-seven series takes place on Monday, again in Minneapolis.

In Friday’s other game, American Tyrese Haliburton scored 35 points as the Indiana Pacers beat the New York Knicks 111-106 to avoid going 3-0 down in their Eastern Conference semi-final.

Canada’s Andrew Nembhard emerged as an unlikely hero for the Pacers, scoring a three-pointer with 17 seconds left to put his side in the lead in Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows what it looks like when you go down 3-0,” said Haliburton.

“We had to come out, play desperate, play hard.”

American Donte DiVincenzo top-scored for the Knicks with 35 points.

The Pacers will attempt to level the series in game four in Indianapolis on Sunday.

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