'It's a big moment for our club': Wolves overcome 20-point deficit, advance past Nuggets to reach Western Conference finals for first time since 2004

The Minnesota Timberwolves capped a breathtaking postseason run on Sunday with a 98-90 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series. The victory was the second in team history and came 20 years to the day of the Timberwolves' only other Game 7 win, over the Sacramento Kings in the 2004 playoffs. It was also the first time in NBA history that a team trailed by 15 or more points at halftime in a Game 7 and came back to win, via ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

After trailing by 20 points in the third quarter, the Wolves outscored the Nuggets 60-32 the rest of the way. Star center Nikola Jokic scored 34 points but didn't get much help from his teammates, and the Nuggets shot just 36 percent from the field in the second half. Jamal Murray, who poured in 24 first-half points, was held to just 11 points in the second half as the Wolves' defense tightened.

Minnesota was carried by its two stars, Towns and Edwards, who both scored 23 points. But it was a couple of key bench players who made the difference. Jaden McDaniels, who missed last year's playoffs after punching a wall in the regular-season finale, tied Towns for the team lead in points with 23. And Naz Reid, who missed last year's playoffs with a broken wrist, had several huge plays in the fourth quarter, including a couple of blocks on Jokic and a electrifying putback slam off an Edwards miss to give the Wolves a five-point lead with 3:27 to play.

It was a defining night for a couple of players within the Wolves organization. President Tim Connelly, who built this team after leaving the Nuggets, finally got some vindication after a much-maligned trade for Rudy Gobert. And Karl-Anthony Towns, who was criticized for much of his career that he couldn't lead the Wolves to success, was a driving force in the biggest victory in franchise history.

"I definitely had a moment," Towns said. "I've been here nine years, talked about wanting to win and do something special here for the organization. All of the failures and all the things that materialized and happened, the disappointment that comes with it led to this moment."

But it wasn't easy, even in a series that had several blowouts. The Wolves fell behind early in the third quarter, going down 20 points just over three minutes into the period. After that, the Wolves were able to chip away, and some unlikely heroes stepped up.

"It's a great team, don't get me wrong," Reid said. "But I think it just shows the confidence and character that we have. We're never going to quit."

Now the Wolves will host the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is on Wednesday at Target Center. And while this team will surely look to make more history, this night was a time to bask in the glow of what they've already achieved.

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