Timberwolves are healthy ... well, except the coach

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch's surgically repaired right knee felt better Wednesday when he began physical therapy than it did on Tuesday, and better yet Thursday than Wednesday.

"There's less and less pain every single day," he said. "That's the good thing. It's going in the right direction. The doctors are really happy. I can put a little more weight on it starting right now. The pain comes and goes in different forms, but overall it has been manageable. … I still have some moments, but it's getting better and better."

Finch said he has treated the pain with an over-the-counter pain reliever. "I've tried to avoid all the strong stuff," he said.

He underwent surgery last week to repair a knee tendon damaged in an unintended sideline collision with one of his own players, veteran point guard Mike Conley. Finch conducted practice on crutches the next day and two days later sat a row before the Wolves' bench in a safe spot created to protect his leg during Game 1 of the team's Western Conference semifinal series with Denver.

He coached on crutches still at Thursday's practice and planned to scout out Target Center Thursday afternoon to find a similar place close to the action, but far enough away from being getting hit again.

"I'll map out my seat then," he said.

The best-of-seven series resumes there against the Friday night with the Wolves leading 2-0.

Finch watched from that second row and passed along opinions and instructions to assistant coach Micah Nori, who worked the sidelines in Finch's place.

When asked if he could hear Finch from where he sat, Conley said, "Barely, barely. Sometimes I have to go sit next to him to get a real feel of what he's trying to get accomplished with us. I can't really hear him that well, but Micah's done a great job so far being able to relay whatever Finchy's saying."

Towns, Jokic reunited

The Wolves' Karl-Anthony Towns has known three-time league MVP Nikola Jokic since he was in high school. Now they're battling each other in a matchup that sometimes features Towns defending Jokic 1-on-1.

"We've known each other since the Nike Hoops Summit back in high school," said Towns, who played with Jokic on the World team in 2014. "We were teammates and now we get to go against each other in the NBA. Whenever you go out there, it's always cool to see someone you knew when you were young. … He's one of the best players this league has seen. So It's always great when you get to go compete against the best."

Jokic played for Serbia on the World team, Towns represented his mother's Dominican Republic homeland against an American team that included Apple Valley's Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner and Kelly Oubre Jr.

Not a wrap

The Wolves won the first two games in Denver, but, unlike what TNT analyst Charles Barkley says, it's not over, Jaden McDaniels said.

"I don't expect them to give up or give in at all," McDaniels said. "They won the championship last year, so they know how hard it is and they know what it takes to get there. I expect them to come out and try to get us out of the way early and blow us out. But I feel we'll be ready. We're ready for anything, really."

McDaniels' priorities

McDaniels went scoreless in Game 1 and scored 5 points in Game 2, but he's a plus-40 in the two games.

"My job is to guard the other team's player and make it as hard as possible for him," McDaniels said. "Me making shots, I try not to think about it. It's going to come. I know I can score. I know my capabilities. I'm just staying confident on that end and when it goes in, it's just a plus for my defense."

He said it

Finch, when asked if he expects a "chippier" game Friday after the first two, very physical ones: "No doubt, I expect an extremely chippy game. Hopefully we're doing most of the chippy-ing."