June 22, 2024

The Timberwolves were ready for a party. The Nuggets gave them a fight.

MINNEAPOLIS — A night of unfulfilled pomp and circumstance began with Anthony Edwards dancing on the court, multiple award presentation ceremonies and the public address announcer’s booming voice: “Target Center: We waited 20 years for this moment!”

Well, maybe not this exact moment.

The Minnesota Timberwolves triumphantly returned home from Denver with a 2-0 lead over the Nuggets and a chance to host a second-round playoff game for the first time since 2004. As the defending NBA champion Nuggets used a rare three-day mid-series break to lick their wounds and brainstorm how to get stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray on track, the Timberwolves pulled out all the stops Friday to set the stage for a raucous Game 3.

Expectant fans, riding high from a pair of commanding road wins, were given a free white T-shirt and white towel, and co-owner Alex Rodriguez wore white from head to toe for the “White Out.” Edwards, the face of Minnesota’s sudden success, bopped around the court during warmups, soaking in the applause while launching half-court shots. All-star center Karl-Anthony Towns was honored as the NBA’s social justice champion of the year with a taped video message from Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then forward Naz Reid received a loud ovation as he accepted his sixth man of the year trophy shortly before tip.

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