Timberwolves at Nuggets preview: Game 1 offers hotly anticipated rematch

NBA Western Conference semifinals

No. 2 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 3 Timberwolves

Game 1: 6 p.m. Saturday, Ball Arena, Denver

TV; radio: TNT; 100.3 FM and iHeartRadio app

Stats and analytics: Tap here.

Game preview

Opening bell: The teams split four games during the regular season, and the Nuggets won the last meeting to not only cost the Wolves the No. 1 seed in the West but also force a second-round meeting with the defending NBA champs. Denver beat the Lakers 4-1 and the Wolves swept the Suns in the first round.

Watch him: Denver's Jamal Murray had two buzzer-beating shots in the Lakers series, adding to what coach Mike Malone called "his playoff lore." He was questionable for Game 5 because of a calf injury and scored 32 points. His pick-and-roll game with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic will be hard to stop.

Injuries: Murray (calf) is questionable for Denver.

Forecast: Jokic is headed toward his third MVP award, so how will the Wolves defend the best player on the planet? Wolves center Rudy Gobert is likely to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year Award, but he'll need help from Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid in this series. If the Wolves can limit Jokic, they will likely steal a game in Denver. But it's a big if.

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