NBA playoffs: Nuggets edge Timberwolves, Pacers thrash Knicks in game 4

Defending champs Denver bounced back to level series 2-2 with a 115-107 win over Minnesota, while Indiana beat NY Knicks 121-89 in game four.

Nikola Jokic scored 35 points against Minnesota Timberwolves in Game four [Bruce Kluckhohn/USA Today Sports via Reuters]Published On 13 May 202413 May 2024

Nikola Jokic finished with 35 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as the Denver Nuggets held on for a 115-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in game four of the NBA playoff Western Conference semifinal series in Minneapolis.

Defending champions Nuggets outgunned the Timberwolves on Sunday as the Indiana Pacers pulled even with the New York Knicks.

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The Nuggets, fuelled by 35 points from NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon’s 27 points on ruthlessly efficient 11-of-12 shooting and 19 points from Jamal Murray, claimed a second straight win in Minneapolis to knot their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.

The Pacers dismantled the Knicks 121-89 in Indianapolis to level their Eastern Conference semifinal at 2-2.

“Now it’s best of three,” Jokic said, adding that the Timberwolves’s stunning victories in games one and two in Denver had only strengthened the defending champions.

“We took a hit and we bounced back and hopefully, we can defend the home court now,” said Jokic, looking forward to game five in Denver on Tuesday.

Pacers double down on sorry Knicks

In Indianapolis, the Pacers finally got their high-octane offence firing. After the first two games of the series came down to the final minutes the Pacers fashioned a blow-out as a raft of injuries at last caught up with the weary Knicks.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 20 points and the Pacers connected on 56.8 percent of their shots, drilling 14 three-pointers and dominating in the paint.

TJ McConnell scored 15 points off the bench for Indiana, who had six players score in double figures.

After a dunk by the Knicks centre Isaiah Hartenstein to open the game, the first quarter was all Pacers, Indiana pushing their lead to as many as 23 points.

Knicks talisman Jalen Brunson was 0-for-5 in the opening quarter and the Pacers bench out-scored the Knicks reserves 17-0 in the period.

The domination continued in the second quarter, Haliburton sending the crowd into a frenzy with a three-pointer over Donte DiVincenzo that put the Pacers up by 30 with 5.9 seconds left in the first half.

They would lead by as many as 43 before it was over, but despite the rapturous ovation from fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Haliburton said the Pacers must remain focused on the task ahead.

“We did our job,” Haliburton said. “They did their job and won two at home, we did our job and won two at home.

“We understand the magnitude of game five and we’ll be prepared for that one.”

The Knicks were again without OG Anunoby, who injured a hamstring in game two to join key contributors Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic on the sidelines.

The strain was telling on Brunson, who is playing through a right foot injury. He connected on six of 17 attempts to score 18 points with three rebounds and five assists before checking out with two and a half minutes left in the third quarter.

With the contest out of hand and game five coming up at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, both coaches pulled their starters for the fourth quarter.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau would not point to injuries to explain the Knicks’s struggles – including a seven-for-37 performance from three-point range.

“Everyone’s got something – it’s the playoffs,” Thibodeau said. “Whether you lose by one or lose by 30, it’s a loss. You’ve got to respond.”

Indiana Pacers’s Ben Sheppard rebounds the ball over New York Knicks’s Shake Milton [Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports via Reuters]

Source: News Agencies