League MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder were both unanimous selections to the All-NBA first team.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks were also named to the first team, which was revealed Wednesday.

Jokic, who has won three of the last four MVP awards, and Gilgeous-Alexander were both listed on all 99 ballots.

Doncic fell one vote shy of joining them, while Antetokounmpo received 88 first-place votes and Tatum garnered 65.

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Los Angeles Lakers centre Anthony Davis were named to the second team.

The third team was made up of Lakers forward LeBron James, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Suns guard Devin Booker.

This is the 20th consecutive season James has been named to an All-NBA team since being included on the second team in his second season.

At 39 years old, he became the oldest All-NBA player in league history. He was also the youngest All-NBA selection as a 20-year-old back in 2004-05.

Jokic, who won the 2023-24 MVP award in a runaway with 79 of a possible 99 first-place votes, was named to the All-NBA first team for the fourth time to go with a pair of inclusions on the second team.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who finished second in MVP voting, was named to the first team for the second straight season.

Doncic made the first team for the fifth year in a row, while Tatum is on it for the third consecutive season.

Antetokounmpo has been on the first team each of the last six seasons after being on the second team the previous two years.

Michael Malone reflects on a hard end to the season after the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a historic comeback to beat the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets let a 20-point lead slip in the third quarter at home to lose 98-90 in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals as the Timberwolves denied them a chance at a second straight league title.

Minnesota trailed 53-38 at half-time – the largest deficit a Game 7 winner has overcome in NBA post-season history.

Asked what went wrong in the second half, Malone did not have too many answers.

"That's what's hard," Malone said. "F*** being up 20. Season's over. It's hard."

"This is just a momentary delay. It's a failure, it's not fatal. We'll be back.

"The better team won, so I'm taking nothing away from Minnesota ... but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They're dead tired.

"They gave me everything I could ever ask for, and that's why as much as this hurts, I'll walk out of this building tonight with my head held very high."

Denver dropped the first two games of the series at home but won the next three to get themselves back on track to challenge for a repeat NBA title.

Jamal Murray scored 35 points for the Nuggets, while Nikola Jokic added 34, but the former thinks the team were just lacking an edge at the end of the game.

"Just mentally and physically, conjuring up the energy to fight like you're being hunted," Murray said. "I think that's the emotion.

"When you're the hunter, you have so much more motivation and you grasp on to anything to prove everybody wrong and you have a constant chip on your shoulder.

"I don't know. I feel like we should have won tonight. That's the tough part. They beat us, but we had so many great opportunities, including myself, so it's just tough, man."

Mike Conley Jr. said his return had completed the Minnesota Timberwolves after they crushed the Denver Nuggets to force a Game 7 in the teams' Western Conference semifinal series.

The Nuggets had the chance to eliminate the Timberwolves at Target Center on Thursday after going 3-2 up in the series, but the hosts roared back to tie things up with a 115-70 rout.

Anthony Edwards led the way with 27 points and Jaden McDaniels added 21 on 8-of-10 shooting, with the Timberwolves' win the second-largest NBA Playoff victory by a team facing elimination in history.

Edwards put the team's improvement down to the return of guard Conley, who missed Game 5 after suffering from soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

Asked what had changed for Minnesota, Edwards said: "We got Mike Conley back. That was it."

Conley said: "Obviously I wanted to play the last game. I just couldn't move at all. Tonight it was a no-brainer. 

"I was going to try to find a way. We're just better when we're a complete team."

MVP Nikola Jokic had 22 points and nine rebounds for the defending champions, who were stunned by a 20-0 first-quarter run from the third-seeded Timberwolves. 

Asked how Denver would look to forget about the loss, Jokic said: "I think we shouldn't.

"I think we need to let it sink in. It's a great loss. They destroyed us, and we should learn from it."

The Minnesota Timberwolves needed a win to keep their season alive.

They proceeded to obliterate the Denver Nuggets.

The Timberwolves rode a 20-0 run in the first quarter en route to a 115-70 thrashing of the Nuggets on Thursday to force a Game 7 in their Western Conference semi-final series.

Anthony Edwards led the way with 27 points and Jaden McDaniels added 21 on 8-of-10 shooting as Minnesota recorded the second-largest play-off win in NBA history when facing elimination.

The Wolves led by as much as 50 to send the series back to Denver on Sunday with a berth in the West finals on the line.

 After winning the first two games of the series in Denver, Minnesota suddenly found itself on the brink of elimination after losing Games 3 and 4 on its home court and Tuesday's 112-97 defeat back in Denver.

The Timberwolves then trailed 9-2 early in Game 6 before turning the tables on the Nuggets.

They scored the next 20 points and went on a 27-2 run on their way to taking a 31-14 lead after the first 12 minutes. 

Edwards sparked the first-quarter surge, racking up 14 points in the opening period after scoring 18 total points in Game 5.

The Wolves clamped down defensively and dominated the boards to turn Game 6 into a laugher.

Minnesota limited Denver to just 7-of-36 shooting from 3-point range (19.4 per cent) and held a 62-43 advantage on the glass, with big men Rudy Gobert (14), Karl-Anthony Towns (13) and Naz Reid (11) combining for 38 boards.

NBA MVP Nikola Jokic had 22 points and nine rebounds for the defending champions, but Jamal Murray struggled mightily from the floor, making just 4-of-18 shots and finishing with 10 points.

Mike Conley returned after missing Game 5 because of soreness in his right Achilles tendon, and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The Timberwolves opened the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run to open up a 30-point lead, prompting the Nuggets to empty their bench just over two minutes into the final period. 

Less than 90 seconds later, that lead grew to 36 points and Minnesota took out its starters.

The Wolves bench picked up right where the starters left off to finish off a 24-0 run as the lead ballooned to 50.

Anthony Edwards could only stand back and watch as MVP Nikola Jokic inspired the Denver Nuggets in their victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On the night he received the Michael Jordan Trophy after being named the NBA's MVP for the third time, Jokic scored 40 points and provided 13 assists in a 112-97 win.

It was a victory that put the reigning NBA champions within touching distance of the Western Conference finals.

And Edwards, who finished with 18 points and nine assists for Minnesota, could not even muster the energy to be angry.

He said: "I just laugh. That's all I can do.

"He's good, man. I think I said that after Game 1 when we won, and Game 2, he's the MVP. He's the best player in the NBA.

"He showed it the last three games, three games in a row. He was special tonight. I've got to give him his flowers. He was that guy tonight."

Denver coach Michael Malone said: "He did everything for us tonight, and it was fun to watch."

Jamal Murray chipped in with 16 points for the Nuggets, though he was happy to hand responsibility to Jokic.

"If Jokic's scoring like that, there's no need to do anything special," Murray said.

"He's amazing, just the way he picks apart the game and reads the game and trusts his teammates.

"I'm guessing that for the big fella getting the trophy tonight probably motivated him a little bit. Just being at home was a lot of fun, the place was rocking, kind of felt the energy and he definitely had it going."

The Nuggets lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6.

Nikola Jokić scored 16 of his 40 points in the third quarter and the Denver Nuggets shut down Anthony Edwards to pull away for a 112-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday.

Jokic, who was presented with his third NBA MVP before the game, shot 15 of 22 from the field and had 13 assists and seven rebounds with no turnovers as the home team won for the first time in this series.

Aaron Gordon added 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jamal Murray had 16 points for the Nuggets, who can wrap up the series in Game 6 in Minnesota on Thursday night.

Edwards was limited to 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting, while Karl-Anthony Towns scored 23 points.

After the Wolves took a 55-53 lead early in the third quarter, Jokic assisted on four consecutive baskets during Denver’s 11-2 run for a 64-57 lead it would not relinquish.

His dunk with 7:12 remaining made it 98-80, and Jokic’s 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer gave the Nuggets a 14-point advantage with just over 3 minutes left.

 Brunson powers Knicks to series lead

Jalen Brunson poured in 44 points and the New York Knicks dominated the glass in a 121-91 win over the Indiana Pacers to move a win away from their first Eastern Conference finals trip since 2000.

The Knicks bounced back from a blowout loss in Game 4 on Sunday and guaranteed themselves at least one more game at Madison Square Garden, though they can wrap up the series with a win in Indiana in Game 6 on Friday night.

Game 7, if necessary, would be Sunday at MSG.

Brunson injured his right foot in Game 2 and was held to 18 points Sunday, his lowest of the playoffs. He shot 18 for 35 from the field in this one and reached the 40-point mark for the second time in this series and fifth time this postseason.

Josh Hart had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Alec Burks scored 18, Deuce McBride added 17 points after he was inserted into the starting lineup and Isaiah Hartenstein had seven points and 17 rebounds. The Knicks had a 53-29 advantage on the glass.

Pascal Siakam scored 22 points for the Pacers, who will try to stay unbeaten at home in the postseason to prolong the series. Myles Turner had 16 points, but All-Star Tyrese Haliburton was limited to 13 after averaging 29.7 over the last three games.

Brunson made consecutive baskets to extend New York’s lead to 13 early in the second quarter and then had the first bucket in a 9-0 run that made it 65-47 with 2:11 left in the first half.

Indiana had the deficit down to 70-63 on Turner’s 3 early in the third quarter, but the Knicks put the game out of reach with a 19-1 run that featured 3s by McBride and Brunson.

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone quoted former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich after watching his team level their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday, saying: "Never underestimate the heart of a champion."

The Nuggets levelled their series with the Minnesota Timberwolves at 2-2 with a dominant road performance, triumphing 115-107 at Target Center.

Denver never trailed after taking a 23-22 lead on Aaron Gordon's three-point play near the end of the first quarter, stretching their advantage to as many as 18 points early in the third.

While Minnesota pulled within seven with just under two minutes remaining, they failed to make another basket as the Nuggets levelled things up ahead of Game 5 on Tuesday.

Gordon amassed 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting while NBA MVP Nikola Jokic had 35 points, with 16 of those coming in the fourth quarter.

The reigning champions are now slight favourites to reach the NBA Finals as they prepare to host Game 5, leading Malone to hail their mentality. 

"What I found is Rudy T is right, man, 'never underestimate the heart of a champion'," Malone said, referring to Tomjanovich's infamous quote in the aftermath of Houston's 1995 championship.

"They were quick to write us off, but these guys, we won a championship a year ago. We went into Miami [in the Finals], won two games in a row. 

"This team has been tested time and time again, and we found a way to solve whatever's been thrown at us.

"This series is a long way from being over. We're not celebrating. It's 2-2, but what I found about our group is that they do believe in themselves. 

"More importantly, they believe in the man next to them. We have a group that is acting as you would hope a championship team would act."

Gordon echoed his coach's sentiments, saying: "I love it when people count us out.

"A lot of these guys have been counted out before in their careers. They've been the underdogs or the dark horse in their careers before. 

"So, I don't think it was anything new to the individuals. It was new to our collective, but I liked the challenge, and I'm glad we accepted it and put ourselves in a good position with home court."

Nikola Jokić scored 16 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Denver Nuggets held off the Minnesota TImberwolves to earn a critical 115-107 win in Sunday's Game 4 of a Western Conference semifinal series. 

Aaron Gordon also provided the Nuggets a huge lift by amassing 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting as the reigning NBA champions evened the series at 2-2. Jamal Murray added 19 points, 12 of which came in the third quarter, to help Denver to its second straight victory in Minnesota after the TImberwolves won Games 1 and 2 on the road.

The best-of-seven series will return to Denver for Tuesday's pivotal Game 5.

Denver also overcame another superb performance from Minnesota's Anthony Edwards, who put up a play-off career-high 44 points for his third 40-point effort in this post-season. 

Edwards' All-Star teammate Karl-Anthony Towns struggled, however, as he was held to 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds. 

The Nuggets never trailed after taking a 23-22 lead on Gordon's three-point play with 2:39 left in the first quarter. They led 29-24 after one period, then scored the final eight points of the first half to own a 64-49 advantage at intermission.

Murray capped the opening half by draining a 3-point shot from half-court as the buzzer sounded.

Denver's lead swelled to as many as 18 points early in the third quarter, but the Timberwolves gradually chipped away and cut their deficit to 111-104 when Edwards followed teammate Jaden McDaniels' 3-pointer with a running layup with 1:41 left to play.

Minnesota didn't make another basket the rest of the way, though, and Jokic sealed the outcome by scoring off a Gordon feed out of a timeout with 25.8 seconds remaining to make the score 115-107.

 Pacers clamp down on Knicks to even series

The Eastern Conference now has a series all even at two games apiece as well after the Indiana Pacers came through with a dominant 121-89 Game 4 rout of the New York Knicks.

Tyrese Haliburton led a balanced Indiana scoring attack with 20 points, but it was the Pacers' defence that provided the biggest reason why the series is now all tied as it heads back to New York for Tuesday's Game 5.

The Knicks shot a meagre 18.9 per cent (7 for 37) from 3-point range, their lowest accuracy rate in a play-off game since 2000, and 33.7 per cent overall in by far their most lopsided defeat of this post-season. Star guard Jalen Brunson, who entered the contest averaging a league-leading 34.6 points per game in the post-season, was held to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting.

T.J. McConnell added 15 points and 10 assists for Indiana, which immediately assumed control by opening the game on a 19-6 run and shooting 60.9 per cent in the first quarter.

New York, on the other hand, went 6 of 23 from the field in the opening period and trailed 34-14 entering the second. 

The Pacers continued to dominate in the second quarter, building a lead as large as 30 points and taking a commanding 69-41 advantage into the break. Five Pacers scored in double figures in the first half, led by Haliburton's 13 points.

New York failed to mount a challenge in the second half as well, as the Pacers extended the margin to 101-63 after three quarters and led by as many as 43 points in the fourth.

Alec Burks finished with 20 points to lead the Knicks, who played without defensive stopper OG Anunoby for a second straight game due to a left hamstring injury he sustained in Game 2. 


Nikola Jokić had 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists and Jamal Murray bounced back with 24 points as the Denver Nuggets rolled to a 117-90 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 21 points and Aaron Gordon had 13 for the Nuggets, who cruised to an easy win on the road after dropping the first two games at home.

They are the 30th team in the history of the NBA playoffs to lose the first two games at home in a best-of-seven series. Five of them have rallied to win, most recently the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round in 2021.

Game 4 is Sunday in Minneapolis.

Murray totalled just 25 points on 9-of-32 shooting over the first two games but was 11 of 21 in this one.

Denver shot 14 of 29 from 3-point range with Gordon and Porter combining to hit 7 of 9.

Anthony Edwards was held in check with 19 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 for a Wolves team that suffered its first loss in seven playoff games.

Minnesota shot 10 of 33 from long range and fell behind by as many as 34 points down the stretch.

Pacers rally to cut deficit to 2-1

Andrew Nembhard drilled a 31-foot, tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and Tyrese Haliburton had 35 points with six 3-pointers as the Indiana Pacers rallied for a 111-106 win over the banged-up New York Knicks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Knicks lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 on Sunday in Indianapolis. New York held a nine-point lead with 9:45 remaining but was unable to hold the lead with star guard Jalen Brunson slowed by a right foot injury.

Nembhard scored all five of his points in the final minute, connecting on a long 3 as the shot clock expired to give the Pacers a 109-106 lead.

Brunson missed a potential tying 3 with 14 seconds left and finished with 26 points on 10-of-26 shooting.

Donte DiVincenzo scored 35 points and was 7 for 11 on 3s, while Alec Burks, who came in having played just 1 minute in the playoffs, scored 14 points in 21 minutes for the Knicks, who played without starting forward OG Anunoby.

It’s unclear whether Anunoby can recover from his injured left hamstring to play Sunday.,

Haliburton triggered Indiana’s comeback in the fourth quarter. He completed a three-point play and then made back-to-back layups to make it 98-96. After Brunson made a free throw, Pascal Siakam tied the score with a three-point play.

The teams traded the lead four more times, with Brunson’s 3 tying it at 106 with 42 seconds remaining.  


Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic has added to his legacy by winning a third NBA MVP Award.

The NBA announced the Serbian superstar beat out the Oklahoma City Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic for the Michael Jordan trophy on Thursday.

Jokic won back-to-back awards in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and with this year's trophy, he becomes the ninth player to win three or more MVPs, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Jordan and Bill Russell (five), Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James (four), and Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (three).

Jokic won the 2023-24 award in a runaway, capturing 79 first-place votes. Gilgeous-Alexander received 15 first-place votes, Doncic had four and the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo had one.

 Jokic led the Nuggets to the franchise's first NBA title last season and the second seed in the Western Conference play-offs in 2023-24 after averaging 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists.

He was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and assists, and his 25 triple-doubles were one fewer than the Sacramento Kings' Domantas Sabonis for the most in the league.

Karl-Anthony Towns has pledged the Minnesota Timberwolves will not waste a golden opportunity in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Denver Nuggets, having seized a 2-0 lead.

Towns joined Anthony Edwards in putting up 27 points as the third-seeded Timberwolves claimed a comfortable 106-80 win on Monday, two days on from a 106-99 Game 1 victory.

Nikola Jokic was held to just 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting as Minnesota produced another outstanding defensive performance, while Jamal Murray only managed eight points in 36 minutes.

Minnesota return home for the first of back-to-back games at Target Center on Friday, knowing they have the chance to finish the series off on their own turf.

It is not an opportunity Towns intends to see pass them by.

"We're extremely honoured and blessed that we have this opportunity to go home up 2-0," Towns said. 

"But we're humble in this approach. We understand that we've put ourselves in a great position, but as great as the position we are in is, it could be very bad if we don't win our homestand.

"So, we've just got to go out there, take care of business, do what we do, play defense at a high level, and execute even at a higher level because the defending champions, you can't give them a minute of slippage at all in the game."

Minnesota should be further boosted by Friday with Rudy Gobert set to return after missing Monday's game to attend the birth of his first child.

Given the Timberwolves were without the Defensive Player of the Year favourite, coach Chris Finch believes shutting down the reigning NBA champions ranked among their best defensive efforts this season.

"We've had some really, really good defensive efforts this year but that has to be right up there with the best of them," Finch said. 

"On the ball, off the ball, the physicality, the execution of the gameplan… we just really locked in on defense."

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 27 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves frustrated the Denver Nuggets once again to take a stunning 2-0 series lead on the reigning NBA champions.

Monday's 106-80 rout put the third-seeded Timberwolves in firm control of this Western Conference semifinal series, as they'll host the next two games after taking the first two matchups in Denver. Game 3 is set for Friday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota improved to 6-0 this post-season by shutting down Nikola Jokić and the second-seeded Nuggets' potent offence, and did so even with three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert unavailable as he attended the birth of his child.

The Timberwolves held Denver to 32.6 per cent shooting in the first half while taking a commanding 61-35 lead into the break, and the Nuggets finished the night shooting 34.9 per cent while committing 16 turnovers.

Jokic was held in check as the two-time league MVP was held to 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting, while Jamal Murray ended 3 of 18 from the field while managing just eight points in 36 minutes.

Aaron Gordon paced Denver, which entered the series 14-1 in its last 15 play-off games dating back to 2022, with 20 points. Jokic did record 16 rebounds and eight assists and Murray amassed 13 rebounds.

Towns added 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which led by as many as 32 points in the third quarter and finished with its largest margin of victory in a road play-off game in franchise history.

Brunson joins exclusive club, leads Knicks past Pacers in Game 1

Jalen Brunson extended his streak of 40-point performances and led a fourth-quarter rally that propelled the New York Knicks to a 121-117 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Brunson netted 21 fourth-quarter points and 43 overall for his fourth consecutive post-season game with 40 or more. The All-Star guard is just the fourth player in NBA history to achieve the feat and first since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan did so in 1993.

Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points and put New York ahead for good on a 3-pointer with 40.4 seconds left that snapped a 115-115 tie. 

The second-seeded Knicks trailed No. 6 seed Indiana 94-85 early in the fourth quarter before closing the gap with an 8-0 run. Brunson scored the first three points of the spurt, which DiVincenzo capped with a 3-pointer that brought New York within one with 8:56 remaining.

The Knicks later scored nine straight points - seven coming from Brunson - to take a 113-109 lead with 2:42 left, but two New York turnovers led to six consecutive Indiana points as the Pacers moved ahead by a 115-113 count with 1:33 to go.

Brunson buried a short jumper on the ensuing possession, however, and DiVincenzo knocked down a 28-footer after Indiana's Andrew Nembhard missed a 3-point try to send the Knicks back in front.

Pascal Siakam's layup with 26.6 seconds left to play brought Indiana within 118-117, but the Pacers went scoreless the rest of the way and Brunson sealed the outcome with three late free throws.

Siakam finished with 19 points and Myles Turner had 23 for Indiana, though Pacers' All-Star Tyrese Haliburton was held to six points in 36 minutes after being listed as questionable for Game 1 due to back spasms.

Josh Hart also had a big night for New York, which will host Game 2 on Wednesday, by compiling 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. 


Nikola Jokic paid tribute to "special player" Anthony Edwards following the Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard's influential display against the Denver Nuggets.

Edwards notched up a career playoff high of 43 points as the Wolves drew first blood in the Western Conference semi-finals series with a 106-99 victory over the reigning champions in Game 1.

The two-time NBA All-Star shot 17-for-29 - including seven-for-10 on jump shots - seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal to become only the second player aged 22 or under in postseason history after Kobe Bryant to record successive 40-point performances.

Edwards has now scored 119 points across his last three playoff outings; the highest tally by a Wolves player across a three-game span in their postseason history. 

The 22-year-old's exploits caught the eye of last season's NBA Finals MVP in Jokic, who shot just 11-for-25 (and two-for-nine from three-pointers) and conceded a game-high seven turnovers as the Nuggets surrendered home-court advantage at Ball Arena.

"To be honest, he's a special player," he said of Edwards. "I have huge respect for him; he can do everything on the floor. You need to give him respect for how good and how talented he is."

Minnesota have looked inspired during the playoffs, with a sweep of the Phoenix Suns helping them advance beyond the opening round for the first time since their only previous semi-final appearance in 2004.

And Edwards insists he and his team-mates are not daunted by the prospect of appearing in unfamiliar territory.

"Going against the best player in the world is always fun, going against the best team in the world is always fun," he said. "Our guys came out and competed, so it's not about me personally, it's about my team.

"It's not about introducing ourselves to anybody; we know who we are. We're coming out and as long as we've got each other's backs, it doesn't really matter what anybody else thinks."

Anthony Edwards poured in a playoff career-high 43 points and Naz Reid scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Denver Nuggets 106-99 on the road in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday.

Edwards had 25 points in the first half and Reid took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight points at one point during a pivotal late run.

His 3-pointer with 4:19 remaining capped the surge for a 94-88 lead and the Timberwolves held on down the stretch, with Edwards scoring eight points in the final three minutes.

Game 2 is Monday night in Denver.

Nikola Jokić had 32 points, nine assists and eight rebounds but also had seven turnovers for Denver and Jamal Murray added 17 points after he was held scoreless in the first half.

Karl-Anthony Towns battled foul trouble to score 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Mike Conley added 14 points and 10 assists for the Wolves, who improved to 5-0 in these playoffs. 

Three days after knee surgery, Minnesota coach Chris Finch was on the bench in the second row, next to the scorer’s table and behind assistant Micha Nori, who did the instructing, roaming and switching.

Anthony Davis says he will give LeBron James the space he needs to make the right decision on his NBA future.

The Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in a 4-1 series defeat to the Denver Nuggets, who won Game 5 108-106 on Monday.

James led the Lakers with 30 points and 11 assists and hit a pair of free throws to tie the game in the final 30 seconds.

But with 3.6 seconds remaining, Jamal Murray, who was playing through a calf strain, hit a pull-up 14-footer to condemn the Lakers to an early exit.

After the game, James said that “he does not have an answer” on his NBA future after 21 years in the league.

However, Davis is confident that James will take his time over the decision, make the correct call for himself and tell everyone else when the time is right.

“I mean, he has been in this position numerous times in his career, where he had to make a decision ultimately for himself and his family. I'll be right there supporting whatever he decides to do,” Davis told ESPN.

“It's still fresh. I mean, I'm pretty sure it's not even on his mind right now.

"But I'm pretty sure he'll come talk to me, tell me what's going on before he becomes public with the situation, just to keep me in the loop.

“Obviously, it's been a great five seasons with him. If he does decide to come back, obviously this isn't what we want to be left at, losing in the first round.

"If he does, obviously our goal is to come back and be a championship contender, stay healthy and give Laker Nation what they deserve."

The Nuggets swept the Lakers in the Western Conference finals last year, with their late-game execution proving to be the difference once again in this series.

Murray, who also hit a buzzer-beater to win Game 2, was advised to sit the game out by management due to his calf injury but proved decisive as he scored 12 of his 32 points in a fourth quarter in which the teams repeatedly traded leads.

Asked if he had debated sitting the game out, Murray said: "I came in a little earlier to see if I was going to be able to go, and I felt like I could.

"They [management] just didn't want me to risk it. They told me no.

"And I didn't say no. I didn't want to leave my teammates out there. We've been battling all season.

"Everybody's hurt at some point, everybody's going through something, and I just wouldn't be able to live with myself if I wasn't able to play this game.

"I'm just glad they listened to me - and listened to me listening to my body - and just trusting me with it."

Nikola Jokic finished with 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists, while Michael Porter Jr. concluded his impressive series with a 26-point performance for Denver.

Davis had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles but was not involved much in the offence late while playing through a shoulder injury.

The Nuggets will continue their championship defence with a second-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who advanced on Sunday by completing a sweep of the Phoenix Suns.

Denver eliminated Minnesota in the first round of last year’s playoffs with a five-game series win.

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