DENVER — The Nuggets are moving on.
Denver closed out its opening-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 112-109 Game 5 victory at Ball Arena on Tuesday night.
The Nuggets, who won convincingly in the first three games of the postseason, shook off their only defeat in Game 4 and a slow start in Game 5 to advance in the NBA playoffs.
Fighting off a Minnesota team trying to keep its season alive, Denver relied on the star power of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic coming down the stretch after entering the fourth quarter tied 77-77.
"Once they started talking, it woke us up," Murray said.
Murray finished with a game-high 35 points, many of which were delivered while the Nuggets were struggling shooting, to keep his team afloat.
Jokic recorded yet another triple-double, pouring in 28 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and dishing out 12 assists.
"You never have to worry about Nikola Jokic showing up, doing his job," head coach Michael Malone said. "His consistency, I marvel at that sometimes. He's able to play at this level as consistently as he does. And that's what separates good players from great players."
No. 1 seed Denver moves on to play the Phoenix Suns (No. 4 seed) in the Western Conference semifinals. The series opener will be at Ball Arena on Saturday night.
Malone set a franchise record Tuesday night, becoming the first head coach to lead the team 25 playoff wins.
"Me and coach have had a great relationship since Day 1," Jokic said. "We have lots of memories on the court and off the court. I'm just glad because he deserves it. He's a hard worker."
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