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The Timberwolves and Denver play Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series tonight at Target Center. The Nuggets tied the series 2-2 as staff writer Chris Hinn filed these live reports.

9:32 p.m.: The Wolves can’t make it, and Denver has won by eight

The Timberwolves should have won a game at home this weekend to feel good about their series win over the Nuggets. Instead, they came up empty against the defending champs, who lost in Game 4 115-107 and taught them some lessons in the playoffs.

The once-seemingly impregnable defense now can’t stop leaking, and three-time MVP Nikola Jokic seems to have figured out the Wolves. Jokic was again dominant, scoring 35 points with seven goals and seven assists.

One of the differences in Game 4 was Jokic getting help from the supporting cast, Anthony Edwards (44 points) mostly for the Wolves, Mike Conley with 15 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns picking up bad timing. To play perhaps his worst game of the postseason with 13 points on 5-for-18 shooting. Towns went 1-for-10 in the first half.

Aaron Gordon finished with 27 points on 11-for-12 shooting in Denver, which is especially frustrating for the Wolves’ defense as they prefer to play with Gordon to help on Jokic.

Jamal Murray finished with 19 points, including a shot from beyond half court, as Denver went on an 8-0 run to end the first half.

Denver’s bench, thought to have entered the series at a disadvantage, outscored the Wolves 27-13 thanks to Justin Holiday’s 10 points.

BOXSCORE: Denver 115, Timberwolves 107

8:48 p.m.: The Wolves shaved four points off Denver’s biggest halftime lead in the third quarter.

Game 4 didn’t turn into a blowout after three quarters like Game 3 did, but the Wolves outscored Denver 90-79 after three quarters.

Denver opened the third with buckets on its first five possessions, denying the Wolves three consecutive threes to start.

The Colts put Nikola Jokic in a tough spot with 7:15 to play in the fourth, and Denver opted to sit him out with six minutes left. After a 1-for-10 first half, Karl-Anthony Towns tried to reassert himself offensively, and was 3-for-6 in the third. Anthony Edwards continued to lead the Wolves in scoring and was up to 37 points after the third.

Denver led as many as 18, their largest lead of the quarter, before the Wolves cut it to 10 on a 13-5 run.

But with Jokic on the bench, and Aaron Gordon continuing his strong play, the Colts couldn’t cut into Denver’s lead that much. He was 9-for-9 for 23 points after three quarters, while Justin Holiday scored 10 points off the bench.

8:03 p.m.: Jamal Murray’s half-court goal gives the Nuggets a 15-point lead.

Denver’s Jamal Murray intercepted a pass and threw it 55 feet at the buzzer in the second quarter, giving Denver a 64-49 halftime lead. Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 64.3% from the field against a valuable Wolves defense.

The Wildcats clawed their way back into the game as Denver slowly chipped away at their defense, and the Nuggets threw a haymaker late in the quarter.

The Nuggets scored eight points in the final 20 seconds, first on a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer. Following an Anthony Edwards turnover at the other end, Jokic hit Michael Porter Jr. for a dunk. Then the Wolverines’ inbound passes became sloppy as time expired and Murray finished with a steal and a desperation basket.

The Colts cut Denver’s lead to seven points.

The Wolves’ bench, which was supposed to be their strength coming into the series, was outplayed by Denver’s reserves to open the second quarter. Justin Holiday knocked down a pair of treys to spark a 12-2 Nuggets run to open the second.

The Colts trailed by 16, 46-30, with 7:46 left in the quarter. Anthony Edwards and Naz Reed were the only offensive players for the Wolverines in the first half.

Edwards finished 8-for-12 with 23 points, while Reid finished 4-for-4 with nine points. Outside of the two, the Wolverines shot 6-for-27.

7:34 p.m.: KAT 0-for-7, Wolves trail by five after one quarter

The Timberwolves had plenty of energy early and jumped out to a seven-point lead, but their offense fell apart as the first quarter wore on and they trailed 29-24 after one quarter.

Karl-Anthony Towns got off to a rough start as he went 0-for-7 from the floor in the opening quarter. That contributed to an 8-for-22 shooting by the Wolves in the first quarter, while Denver opened the night 12-for-19.

League MVP Nikola Jokic had 11 first-quarter points to start the scoring for Denver. Aaron Gordon finished the scoring with two in the first 6 minutes and 12 seconds as the Nuggets overcame an early foul on Jamal Murray.

Anthony Edwards promised more energy for the Wolves, and he hit the first four shots to get 11 points in the quarter. But in addition to Towns’ problems, Mike Conley started the night 1-for-4.

5.30pm: The gap between 2 and 3 has left Wolves feeling “fat and lazy”.

After Game 3, Wolves coach Chris Finch said the team may have been distracted all week before Friday when the team was at home. Before Game 4, Finch was asked what kind of distractions the team might face during the week.

“Do you like it when your family is always around?” Finch said with a laugh.

He mentioned that many players had children at the time and that everyone had to deal with “life stuff” and how that compared to being on the road.

“When you’re on the road, it’s a much tougher mindset,” Finch said. “The day is set for you. That’s what we do every minute of every day. At home, it’s a little different. You have to be professional, you have to be able to handle it.”

Finch said the gap between Games 2 and 3 allowed the Colts to get as much praise as they could after the Game 2 loss.

“The long layoff definitely made us feel fat and lazy, everyone was telling us how well we played,” Finch said. “They did an incredible job of coming out on us. We just didn’t respond and it got our attention. So it was up to us to turn it around tonight.”

Morning shot: “I flushed it down the toilet.”

Sunday is a new day and Game 4 is a new game, so Timberwolves nickel guard Alexander Walker said he didn’t see much late in the 107-90 loss in Game 3 and a late-game collision from Denver’s three-time MVP Nikola Jokic. in the game.

All that came out of the scrimmage was a technical foul, with a frustrated Jokic not called for a lean screen near the three-point line. Alexander-Walker’s teammate, Kyle Anderson, also got a technical to contend with.

On the court, Alexander Walker rolled over to the fans sitting in front of the court, where he remained briefly in what appeared to be pain. He finally walked off the court and into the tunnel with less than six minutes remaining and the team trailing by 20 points.

“To be honest, I flushed it down the toilet,” Walker-Alexander said of the game and the game at Sunday’s Game 4 shootaround. “I didn’t look at it. [Jokic’s screen again] one more time. We knew what it was. We talked to him together. What do we need to do to be better? We didn’t want to focus on emotions or anything. Just focus.”

Alexander Walker is not listed on the Wolves injury report for Game 4.

“I feel good,” he said Sunday morning.

Wolves veteran point guard Mike Conley was asked Sunday morning how much such incidents and emotions carry over to the next game or the playoffs.

“For some people,” Conley said. “I know for Nickell, he probably will. He might run a few screens tonight on purpose. You never know. It’s a physical game. We know it. We all get on those screens. We all give those screens to people. I know he’ll be ready to play like the rest of us.”

The Colts have lost just four consecutive games and have lost three straight games. They are also 10-0 after double-digit losses, including the playoff opener at Phoenix. It was 6-0 going into Friday’s game. They have a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

“I expect the same reaction they gave us last game,” Conley said. “Get out with a sense of urgency, a little anger, emotion, everything that’s locked up in there. Men don’t like to lose, especially at home the way we did. It was an embarrassing way out, but men will be ready to go.”