Ten clutch points: Barkley says 'series is a wrap. Minnesota is better.'

In the Timberwolves' 106-80 win at Denver on Monday night, their stifling defense limited two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic to 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting and Jamal Murray to eight points on 3-for-18 shooting.

And the Nuggets were limited to 80 points, their season low and the Wolves defense's season low.

Wolves stars Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards each scored 27 points before being taken out late in the game. The Wolves are 6-0 in this postseason and lead the series 2-0 going back home to Target Center on Friday night:

Here are 10 Clutch Points from the game:

1. Chuck? What's up?

TNT analyst Charles Barkley had high, high praise for the Wolves.

Barkley watched the Wolves take that 61-35 halftime lead and on air from the Atlanta studio called the Wolves "one of the best defensive teams I've ever seen. Ever. Even without Rudy [Gobert], they're one of the best defensive teams. Stats don't lie."

He credited the Wolves' size all over the floor, except for maybe point guard Mike Conley.

"All their wing guys are 6-7, 6-8," he added. "In our day, we'd put a couple little guys out there. The only little guy they have is Mike Conley."

And after the game ...

"This series is a wrap. Minnesota is better than the Nuggets," Barkley said. "[The Nuggets] don't have an advantage anywhere. … They're gonna sweep the Denver Nuggets. Period."

2. Slo-Mo steps in

Starting center Gobert was out, so Kyle Anderson was in Monday's starting lineup and soon on the floor pestering in a matchup with the bigger Jokic with quick hands that flustered the big man early on.

Gobert was back home Monday when his first child was born.

Without him, Anderson started in Gobert's absence with regular starters Towns, Edwards, Conley and Jared McDaniels.

Those five had started once together this season, in a 96-94 win at Brooklyn in late January. The four players played 21 minutes together that night.

3. Nice seats if you can get 'em

As he did in Monday's Game 1, Wolves coach Chris Finch sat a row from the team bench, watching and coaching with his surgically repaired right leg propped up again.

Assistant coach Micah Nori again operated as the acting coach on the bench.

4. KAT takes over from Ant

Saturday's Game 1 was all about Edwards and his 15 points in the first quarter on his way to 43.

Monday 's first quarter was the Towns show. He went 5-for-6 shooting to start and had 11 first-quarter points. Then he just kept going. He made his first two shots — the second a three-pointer — to begin the second quarter. He finished the first half 8-for-11 and scored 20 points. By then, the Wolves had an 18-3 run and a 36-20 lead with nine minutes left before halftime on their way to a 61-35 halftime lead.

5. How do you stop the Joker?

NBA Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid showed how late in the first half when he flustered Jokic into two shot attempts that never got out of the two-time league MVP's hands. And the third was a missed shot with 1:25 left and the Wolves leading by 24 points. Credit Reid's in-your-face defense one-on-one near the basket.

6. They had one chance

The Nuggets' 17-4 run that ended the third quarter and began the fourth brought the deficit under 20 points. The Wolves shot 2-for-14 around that time. The Wolves' biggest lead was 32 on Monday. The Nuggets' biggest was two points.

7. Frustration? You want to see frustration?

Struggling, injured Murray showed it with less than five minutes left in the second quarter and the game fast slipping away from the Nuggets. TV replays showed Murray throwing a heat pack from the end of the Denver bench out skittering onto the court while Anderson was feeding Towns for an easy score. No technical foul was called.

8. Game's fun facts

Towns and Edwards outscored the Nuggets 36-35 in the first half. Towns had 20, Edwards 16. The Nuggets had six made field goals and six turnovers in the second quarter.

9. Pain and gain

Edwards came out of a collision with Jokic late in the third quarter clutching his left shoulder. The Wolves staff worked on him during a timeout while the Nuggets used a successful timeout to get the ball back after the officials wrongly concluded Jokic initiated the contact. Edwards came right back into the game after timeout's end. The Wolves got turnabout shortly thereafter, using a successful timeout of their own to challenge that Nickeil Walker-Alexander had cleanly stripped Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the ball.

10. Stick a fork ...

The Wolves put the proverbial bow on a runaway win when Towns drained a three-pointer and Edwards followed with a spinning shot, the foul and a three-point play. That pushed their lead to 95-70 with less than five minutes to go after the Nuggets got the deficit under 20. Nuggets coach Mike Malone pulled his starters with 3 ½ minutes left and his team trailing by 24. Nori did the same to get his starters, particularly, Edwards, safely out of the game.

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