10 things to know about the Timberwolves victory in Denver

It's over in Denver and the Timberwolves are 106-99 winners over defending champion Denver on the road in their Western Conference semifinal opening game.

Anthony Edwards was great again, finishing with 43 points, a new playoff career high for him. Naz Reid stood out in the fourth quarter, with 14 of his 16 points and the Wolves took a 1-0 series lead with injured coach Chris Finch watching near the bench at Ball Arena.

Here's some quick questions, answers and observations postgame about a rousing opening game in what sure looks like a long heavyweight fight upcoming.

Where was Chris Finch?

He underwent surgery to repair a torn right patellar tendon on Wednesday, flew to Denver on Friday and entered the arena Saturday on crutches. He had a special seat cleared for him one row behind the Wolves' sideline and open in front of him, protected by the courtside broadcast table.

Assistant coach Micah Nori stood on the sideline and relayed information from Finch. The coaching staff huddled in front of Finch during timeouts instead of out on the court as they normally do.

Before the game, Nori called himself a ventriloquist, saying he'd take what Finch told him and repeat it to the team.

Fourth quarter is Naz time

That was Saturday's fourth quarter, when he hit a couple threes —– banking in one — and had a couple power jams, including one a soaring put-back of an Edwards' miss. He scored 14 in the fourth alone and enabled Nori/Finch to keep Karl-Anthony Towns on the bench with five fouls.

All of it kept the Wolves ahead by a basket or two coming down the stretch.

Towns went back in the game for him with three minutes left and the Wolves leading 98-91.

How good was Anthony Edwards?

Good enough that he scored 25 of his team's 40 first-half points and those early 14-2 and 18-4 leads were all him.

In the fourth quarter, he put defender Aaron Gordon on skates with a couple nasty crossover moves that was part of a 9-1 run that gave the Wolves a couple three-point leads.

Did you see that?

Maybe the prettiest play of the night was Edwards' left-handed block of a third-quarter Michael Porter Jr. shot that Towns took and turned into a three-point play that was part of Towns' 5-for-5 shooting to start the second half.

Slow start for Jamal

Denver star Jamal Murray scored the buzzing-beater winning in the closeout Game 5 game against the Lakers, while playing with a calf injury that nearly sidelined him that game.

On Saturday, he was 0-for-5 and scoreless into halftime. That's first time he had been held scoreless in a playoff half in his career.

It probably was a combination of his hurting calf and a Wolves team that constantly threw different defenders at him, including Ant and Jaden McDaniels.

Then he made three of four shots in the third quarter, finishing with 17 points in the second half.

How did the Nuggets get back in game after falling behind 18-4?

With a little help from their bench.

The Wolves entered the series seemingly with a significant bench advantage, but it was veteran point guard Reggie Jackson who provided energy and a three-point shot that got Denver back in the game after that early 18-4 Wolves lead.

The Nuggets responded to that 14-point deficit by going on a 24-3 run. Jackson was a plus-17 by late in the second quarter.

Did you know?

The Nuggets' 44-40 halftime lead was their first lead in these playoffs, having not had one in their five-game first-round series with the Lakers.

How did the Wolves defend the Joker?

Mostly straight up without any help on Nikola Jokic for big Rudy Gobert or Towns. Murray started 3-for-11 from the field well into the second quarter. They sent in Reid to help defend him 1-on-1 in the second quarter's final four minutes.

Reggie speaks up for Ant

TNT analyst Reggie Miller ripped referee Courtney Kirkland for whistling Edwards for a technical foul late in the third quarter. Edwards' transgressions: Staring down Jackson and barking at him after Edwards beat Jackson on a baseline drive.

Miller didn't like it, not in an emotional second-round playoff series.

"What has the game come to?" Miller asked.

He then questioned why Murray wasn't T'd up for making a gunslinger shooting gesture with his hands after an and-one foul called on KAT not long after.

Besides Miller, the rest of the TNT team had Minnesota connections: Kevin Harlan was the longtime Wolves play-by-play voice, Jamal Crawford played for the Wolves and Allie LaForce is married to former Twins reliever Joe Smith.

Some familiar voices for TNT

Miller was in a broadcast team with a couple Minnesotan connections: Former Wolves guard Jamal Crawford and longtime Wolves radio announcer Kevin Harlan, who called the game for TNT.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.