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Jokic, Nuggets tame Wolves to go up 3-2

NEW YORK – The Denver Nuggets made it three straight wins in their semifinal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, fashioning out a 112-97 Game 5 rout Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time), with Nikola Jokic leading the defending champions with 40 points.

Having trailed 2-0 in the series, Denver is now just one win away from a return to the Western Conference finals.

Jokic was presented with his Most Valuable Player of the year award — the third of his career — before the game, then quickly provided another reminder of his value.

Denver led 50-44 at halftime, with Jokic scoring 19 of their points. Then, after the Wolves went on an 11-3 run early in the third quarter, Jokic scored another 16 to extend the Nuggets' lead to 88-74.

The Nuggets were able to keep Anthony Edwards quiet, with the Timberwolves star limited to 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

The 22-year-old had scored 44 points in Sunday's Game 4 loss.

But after the shock of losing the opening two games of the series, Jokic knows a tough test awaits on Thursday in Minnesota.

"Our back is still against the wall and we don't want to quit. We are still desperate, and we still want to win, and we are going to Minnesota to get one," he said.

Denver head coach Michael Malone was pleased with the way his team dealt with the threat from Edwards.

"We knew we had to do something different with Anthony Edwards, he is just a one-man wrecking crew," said Malone.

"We trapped him, we double-teamed him, flew around behind it, and that takes a lot of effort and our guys committed to it and that was a big part of the win," he added.