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NBA Minnesota advances to Western finals for the first time in 20 years

Minnesota defeated Denver 98-90 in Game 7 of the 2023-2024 NBA Playoff (PO) Western Conference at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on the 20th (Korea time) to become the final winner.

Minnesota, which won Game 7, will play the Dallas Mavericks, which defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, the No. 1 team in the regular season league, in the Western finals. Game 1 will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday at Target Center, Minnesota’s home ground.

It is the first time in 20 years that Minnesota has passed the second round to reach the conference finals since the 2003-2004 season when Kevin Garnett, the legendary player of the club, played an active role. The 19th local time that confirmed his move to the conference finals is Garnett’s birthday.

Minnesota, which accumulated 56 wins and 26 losses in the regular league and entered the PO as the third-place team in the regular league, defeated the Phoenix Suns in the first round with all four wins, and even caught Denver, the second-place team in the regular league (57 wins and 25 losses) in the second round.

Denver, the defending champion, sought its second consecutive win, centered on Jokic, who collected the third regular league MVP trophy of his career, but failed to beat Minnesota, which boasts the highest height in the league.

Denver led 53-38 in the first half, and five consecutive points by Jermal Murray widened the gap to 20 early in the third quarter.

That’s when Minnesota launched its counterattack. It was right to name Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year, and Carl Anthony Towns, the big man who forms Minnesota’s Twin Towers, as the exclusive defenders of Jokic.

While Towns used his concentration to reduce Jokic’s power, Anthony Edwards, a young ace who was sluggish with four points in the first half, came to life.

After scoring nine points in the third quarter and delivering three assists, he stole the ball from his head at the end of the quarter and made the score 63-65.

Instead of Towns, where fouls accumulated while defending Jokic, Naz Reid, who won the Sixman of the Year award in the fourth quarter, paired with Gobert and flew.

Gobert and Reid dominated the bottom of the goal as they drove eight points each in the fourth quarter, and in a quick attack three minutes before the end of the game, Edwards received Reid’s pass and scored three points, giving Minnesota a 92-82 run.

Denver squeezed its final strength with Jokic pouring 14 points in the fourth quarter, but ended the season with a come-from-behind loss as teammates missed eight of nine outside shots.

For Minnesota, six players including Jadon McDaniels and Towns (23 points) performed evenly, scoring double digits. Jokic struggled hard with 34 points, 19 rebounds, and seven assists.

According to the Associated Press, after the game, Gobert said, “It’s really nice to join forces with the best teammates in the world to beat a great team and a winning team like Denver.”

In the East, the Indiana Pacers defeated the New York Knicks 130-109 in Game 7 of the second round to reach the conference finals.

New York’s dominance was expected as Indiana (6th, 47-35) fell behind New York (2nd, 50-32), but Indiana laughed at the end due to the string of injuries.

New York ace Jaylen Brunson left the court with a left hand injury, and OG Anunobi, who was in charge of the opponent’s ace defense, also left the game due to hamstring (back thigh muscle) pain.

Tyreece Halliburton was recorded as the team’s most prolific scorer with 26 points, and forward Pascal Siakam, who joined through a trade during the season, also played his part by scoring 20 points.

Dante DiVinchenjo scored 39 points in New York, but failed to overcome Brunson and other gaps.

Indiana, which defeated New York, will clash with the Boston Celtics (64-18, 78%) which has the highest regular league win rate among the 30 teams in the East and West this season, and decide which team will compete in the championship game as the Eastern representative.

BY: 메이저사이트

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