Read the Game 4 recap: Nuggets bounce past Wolves to even things at 2-2

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The Timberwolves and Denver played Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series tonight at Target Center. The Nuggets evened the series 2-2 as staff writer Chris Hine filed these live reports:

9:32 p.m.: Wolves can't catch up, and Denver wins by eight

All the Timberwolves had to do to feel good about winning their series against the Nuggets was win one game at home this weekend. Instead, they came up empty against the defending champions, who taught them some lessons on playoff mettle, with a 115-107 loss in Game 4.

A defense that once looked impenetrable now can't stop leaking, and three-time MVP Nikola Jokic looks as if he has the Wolves figured out. Jokic was again masterful in scoring 35 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists.

One of the differences in Game 4, though, was Jokic got help from his supporting cast while Anthony Edwards (44 points) was mostly a one-man show on offense for the WolvesMike Conley had 15 points while Karl-Anthony Towns picked a bad time to play perhaps his worst game of the postseason with 13 points on 5-for-18 shooting. Towns went 1-for-10 in the first half.

Aaron Gordon finished with 27 points on 11-for-12 shooting for Denver, and that's especially disappointing for the Wolves defense because they prefer to play off Gordon to help on Jokic.

Jamal Murray finished with 19 points, including a shot from just beyond half court that capped a 8-0 Denver gut punch to end the first half.

Denver's bench, a supposed weakness entering the series, out-produced the Wolves bench 27-13 with Justin Holiday cashing in 10 points.

BOXSCORE: Denver 115, Timberwolves 107

8:48 p.m.: Wolves shave four points off Denver's hefty halftime lead in third quarter

Game 4 didn't turn into a blowout after three quarters the way Game 3 did, but the Wolves still trailed Denver 90-79 after three quarters.

Denver opened the third by getting buckets on its first five possessions, which negated the Wolves starting off by hitting three consecutive threes.

The Wolves got Nikola Jokic in foul trouble, as he picked up his fourth with 7:15 to play, and Denver opted to sit him at the six-minute mark. After a 1-for-10 first half, Karl-Anthony Towns tried to get himself going offensively, and he was 3-for-6 in the third. Anthony Edwards continued to will the Wolves with his scoring, and he was up to 37 points after the third.

Denver led by as much as 18, their largest lead of the quarter, before the Wolves cut it to 10 with a 13-5 run.

But with Jokic on the bench, the Wolves couldn't cut into the Denver lead all that much as Aaron Gordon continued his strong play. He was 9-for-9 for 23 points after three quarters while Justin Holiday had chipped in 10 points off the bench.

8:03 p.m.: Jamal Murray scores from past half court at the buzzer for 15-point Nuggets lead

Denver's Jamal Murray intercepted a pass and threw up a 55-footer as the second quarter buzzer sounded, giving Denver a 64-49 halftime lead. The Nuggets shot 64.3% against the vaunted Wolves defense as Nikola Jokic had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Wolves were getting back into the game, slowly chipping away at Denver's lead with an increase in their defensive intensity, and the the Nuggets threw a haymaker at the end of the quarter.

The Nuggets scored eight points in the final 20 seconds, first with a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer. Following an Anthony Edwards turnover at the other end, Jokic hit Michael Porter Jr. for a dunk. Then the Wolves got careless with the inbound pass as time ticked down and Murray ended up with a steal and desperation basket.

The Wolves had cut into the Denver lead to make it a seven-point game.

The Wolves bench, which was a supposed strength for them coming into the series, got outplayed by Denver's reserves to open the second quarter. Justin Holiday knocked down a pair of treys to ignite a 12-2 Nuggets run to open the second.

The Wolves trailed as much as 16, 46-30, with 7:46 to play in the quarter. Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid were the only things going offensively for the Wolves in the first half.

Edwards finished 8-for-12 with 23 points while Reid was 4-for-4 with nine points. Outside of those two, the Wolves shot 6-for-27.

7:34 p.m.: KAT goes 0-for-7, Wolves trail by five after one quarter

The Timberwolves had plenty of energy early and jumped out to a seven-point lead, but their offense disintegrated as the first quarter went along and they trailed 29-24 after one quarter.

Karl-Anthony Towns got off to a rough start as he went 0-for-7 from the floor in the opening quarter. That contributed to an 8-for-22 showing by the Wolves in the first quarter while Denver opened the night 12-for-19.

League MVP Nikola Jokic came out with more of a scoring mindset to start for Denver, as he had 11 first-quarter points. Aaron Gordon also pitched in eight points as the Nuggets overcame early foul trouble to Jamal Murray, who picked up two in the first 6 minutes, 12 seconds.

Anthony Edwards promised to come out with more energy for the Wolves, and he did by hitting his first four shots to get 11 points in the quarter. But in addition to Towns' troubles, Mike Conley began the night 1-for-4.

5:30 p.m.: Layoff between 2 and 3 made Wolves "feel fat and lazy"

After Game 3, Wolves coach Chris Finch said the team may have been distracted while at home all week prior to Friday. Before Game 4, Finch was asked what kind of distractions the team might face during the week.

"Do you like your family when they're around all the time?" Finch said with a laugh.

He referenced multiple players having babies during the season and everyone having to deal with "life stuff" and how that contrasts with being on the road.

"When you're on the road, it's way more of a bunker mentality," Finch said. "The day is mapped out for you. That's what we're doing every minute of the day. A home, it's a little different. Gotta be a pro, gotta be able to handle it."

Finch did say the break between Games 2 and 3 allowed the Wolves to hear a lot of praise they were getting after their Game 2 blowout win.

"The long layoff certainly made us feel fat and lazy, everyone telling us how great we played," Finch said. "They did an unbelievable job of coming out, setting the tone on us. We didn't really respond and they got our attention. So now it's up to us to turn it around tonight."

Morning shootaround: "I flushed it down the toilet"

Sunday is a new day and Game 4 a new game, so Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker said he didn't look back at Game 3′s lopsided 107-90 loss and a late game collision with Denver three-time MVP Nikola Jokic's late in the game.

All he got out of that collision was a technical foul, upset Jokic wasn't called for a foul for the leaning screen he set on him out near the three-point line. Alexander-Walker's teammate Kyle Anderson got a technical as well for arguing.

Down on the court, Alexander-Walker rolled all the way to the fans seated courtside, where he remained for a short time seemingly in pain. He eventually walked off the court and into the tunnel with fewer than six minutes left and his team trailing by 20-something points.

"I flushed it down the toilet, to be honest," Walker-Alexander said at Sunday's Game 4 shootaround about both the game and the play. "I did not look at it [Jokic's screen again] again. We knew what it was. We addressed it together. What do we need to do to be better? We didn't want to dwell on emotions or whatever the case may be. Just focus."

Alexander-Walker wasn't listed on the Wolves' injury report for Game 4.

"I feel good," he said Sunday morning.

Wolves veteran point guard Mike Conley was asked Sunday morning how much such incidents and emotions carry over to the next game or games in the playoffs.

"For some people," Conley said. "I know for Nickeil, it probably does. He might run into a few screens on purpose tonight. You never know. It's a physical game. We know it. We all get his with those screens. We all give out those screens to people. I know he'll be ready to play, just like the rest of us."

The Wolves lost consecutive games only four times in the regular season and never lost three games consecutively. They also are 10-0 after double-digit losses, including the playoff opener at Phoenix. They were 6-0 in the playoffs until Friday's thumping. They have a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

"I expect the exact same response they had to us the last game," Conley said. "Come out with a sense of urgency, a little bit of anger, emotion, all those things tied in there. Guys don't like losing, especially at home the way we did. It was an embarrassing way to go out, but guys will be ready to go."