Live updates from the Timberwolves-Nuggets playoff game

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The Timberwolves and Nuggets meet tonight in Game 1 of their playoff series. Wolves beat reporter Chris Hine of the Star Tribune has live reports from Ball Arena in Denver.

7:47 pm: Wolves have a strong third, 2 lead in the fourth quarter

The Wolves’ offense opened up in the third quarter, and they led 73-71 heading into the fourth.

Karl-Anthony Towns came out on fire for the Wolves as he scored 11 of Minnesota’s first 14 points of the quarter and increased his game total to 20.

Mike Conley got his shot after going scoreless in the first half with 11 points in the third.

The Wolves went with a short lineup to end the quarter that featured Naz Reed at five, and they were able to make it pay.

Anthony Edwards was fouled late in the quarter after staring down Reggie Jackson.

Jamaal Murray, scoreless in the first half, led Denver with seven points in the quarter.

7:03 p.m.: Jamal Murray scores no points but the Nuggets lead 44-40 at halftime.

The Timberwolves had no offense — except for Anthony Edwards — and they trailed the Nuggets 44-40 at halftime.

Edwards had 25 of Minnesota’s 40 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while the rest of the Wolves were just 6-of-27. Karl-Anthony Towns had three of those field goals for nine points.

The Wolves’ defense has done an admirable job of limiting the efficient Denver offense — the Nuggets are just 16-of-40 from the floor — but the Wolves have failed to capitalize on the other end.

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The Wolves shut down Jamaal Murray, who finished the half 0-for-5, as Edwards handled a lot of one-on-one duties against Murray. Murray was the hero of Denver’s first-round win over the Lakers, hitting the winning shots in Games 2 and 5.

Nikola Jokic had 15 points, four rebounds and five assists for Denver, while Michael Porter Jr. had 13.

6:35 p.m.: Denver rallied from an 18-4 hole to take a 25-23 lead in the first quarter.

The Wolves couldn’t have started the first quarter better – and they couldn’t have finished it worse.

After they went on an 18-4 run to start the game, Denver went on a 21-5 run to close the quarter and take a 25-23 lead.

Anthony Edwards scored 16 points for the Wolves, shutting out Denver when teams kept their starters on the floor. They held Jamal Murray to 0-for-3 from the field and held Denver to within four points over the first 7:10 of the game.

But Denver never chases down more than one run to get back in a game.

One of their future strengths coming into the series, Wolves bench minutes were disastrous in the first quarter. Naz Reid tried too hard to make things happen at times and missed an easy shot and had a costly turnover. The Wolves had trouble scoring outside of Edwards.

Nikola Jokic, who could be the NBA MVP for the third time this season, had nine first for the Nuggets.

6:10 pm: Finch has a good spot as coach

The question of how Chris Finch will coach Wolves tonight was answered very quickly and conveniently.

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Finch sat to the right of lead assistant coach Micah Norrie, one row behind Norrie. A radio broadcast schedule protects Finch from oncoming traffic.

Finch can get up and talk to players during timeouts.

4:40pm: Wolves coach Chris Finch sits near the team bench as Micah Nori plays on.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch left his crutches with a member of the team’s public relations staff and took the press conference podium before the game.

“That’s easy,” Finch joked Wednesday before delivering his first public remarks since surgery on a torn right patellar tendon.

Finch suffered an injury in Sunday’s first-round series finale at Phoenix, and there were questions about what his role would be in the series.

He will be on the bench for game assistant Micah Norrie, who will handle game interaction and game flow duties as a sideline coach.

“I feel really good, all things considered. The plan is to try to be here all the time,” Finch said. “See how I feel day to day. Then figure out logistically how I can work with the bench and the other coaches.”

Finch has been using crutches to get around in Wolves training for the past few days and before the game. Finch said he’s been a target for Denver since the injury and will help out any way he can after Wednesday’s surgery.

“I was open about everything,” Finch said. “They told me they really wanted me to rest. I’ve been trying to do that. But I wanted to be here and if I can be here, that’s the most important thing for me. Take it day by day and see how I feel.”

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