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Jokic scores 40, Nuggets shut down Edwards in 112-97 win over Wolves for a 3-2 series lead

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Jokic scores 40, Nuggets shut down Edwards in 112-97 win over Wolves for a 3-2 series lead
Sport

Sport

Jokic scores 40, Nuggets shut down Edwards in 112-97 win over Wolves for a 3-2 series lead

2024-05-15 14:46 Last Updated At:14:50

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic received the Michael Jordan award from Commissioner Adam Silver before tipoff, then delivered a memorable playoff performance to celebrate his third MVP trophy Tuesday night.

Jokic scored 40 points and dished out 13 assists and the Denver Nuggets shut down Anthony Edwards in a 112-97 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves that put the reigning NBA champs one win away from the Western Conference finals.

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Injured Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley walks near the bench during the first half of Game 5 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic received the Michael Jordan award from Commissioner Adam Silver before tipoff, then delivered a memorable playoff performance to celebrate his third MVP trophy Tuesday night.

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., front, is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., front, is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, back, looks on as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, center, falls to the fall after colliding with Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, back, looks on as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, center, falls to the fall after colliding with Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, fields a pass next to Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, fields a pass next to Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic holds his NBA basketball MVP trophy before Game 5 of the team's second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic holds his NBA basketball MVP trophy before Game 5 of the team's second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Jokic also had seven rebounds with no turnovers as the home team won for the first time in this semifinal series.

“He did everything for us tonight,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “And it was fun to watch.”

Jokic's domination even had his opponents smiling.

“I just laugh. That's all I can do," Edwards said of watching Jokic go off for 16 points and assist on four other baskets in the third quarter when the Nuggets seized control for yet another rout.

“I can’t be mad,” Edwards said. "He’s good, man. I think I said that after Game 1 when we won, and Game 2, he’s the MVP. He’s the best player in NBA. He showed it the last three games, three games in a row. He was special tonight. I’ve got to give him his flowers. He was that guy tonight.”

Jokic even had another rim-rattling dunk, something he’s not known for. When asked if Minnesota’s collection of rim protectors necessitated such moves, Jokic cracked, “You know, I’m a freak of nature. Why not show off my athleticism?”

Aaron Gordon added 18 points and 10 boards, and Jamal Murray scored 16, saying when Jokic has it going, there's no need for anyone else to try to be the hero.

“If Jokic's scoring like that, there's no need to do anything special," Murray said.

Trapped and doubled all night, Edwards was held to 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Karl Anthony-Towns led the Wolves with 23 points and Rudy Gobert scored 18.

“I think we did a great job, not just on (Edwards) but everybody," Murray said.

With their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Wolves will have to snap their skid Thursday night at Target Center to force a Game 7 back in Denver.

Jokic, who was presented with his third MVP trophy by commissioner Adam Silver in a pregame ceremony, scored 19 first-half points in leading Denver to a 50-44 lead at the half. He added 16 points in the third quarter when the Nuggets pushed their lead to 14.

After the Wolves used a mini-run to pull to 103-92, Jokic nailed a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer over a helpless Gobert, who recently won his fourth NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, to make it a 14-point cushion with just over 3 minutes left.

Edwards averaged 33.3 points in the first four games of the series and the Wolves were looking for somebody else to step up. Although KAT did just that, Edwards missed eight of his first nine shots, had five points at halftime and didn't find his shooting touch until the game had gotten away from the Timberwolves.

Minnesota's veteran point guard Mike Conley was scratched just before tipoff with a sore right Achilles. He was injured when he missed a 3-pointer on the Wolves' final possession in their loss on Sunday. Nickeil Alexander-Walker started in his spot and had 14 points and five assists.

In his pre-game comments, Wolves coach Chris Finch also expressed dismay at the NBA fining Rudy Gobert $75,000 for making a money gesture following a call by referee Scott Foster in Game 4.

That was $25,000 less than Murray was fined for his actions in Game 2, when he, too, made the money sign and threw both a towel and a heat pack toward an official.

When Towns went to the bench with his third foul late in the first half, Gobert pointed at Kyle Anderson, instructing him to guard Jokic. TNT announcer Reggie Miller was aghast at Gobert, saying, “You’re the Defensive Player of the Year! You guard the MVP!”

It mattered little who was guarding the three-time MVP on this night.

“He's amazing,” Murray said, “just the way he picks apart the game and reads the game and trusts his teammates. I'm guessing that for the big fella getting the trophy tonight probably motivated him a little bit. Just being at home was a lot of fun, the place was rocking, kind of felt the energy and he definitely had it going.”

The summary and story has been updated to show Jokic had 13 assists, not rebounds.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

Injured Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley walks near the bench during the first half of Game 5 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Injured Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mike Conley walks near the bench during the first half of Game 5 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., front, is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., front, is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, back, looks on as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, center, falls to the fall after colliding with Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, back, looks on as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, center, falls to the fall after colliding with Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, fields a pass next to Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, fields a pass next to Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic holds his NBA basketball MVP trophy before Game 5 of the team's second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic holds his NBA basketball MVP trophy before Game 5 of the team's second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Denver (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was facing Republican primary voters Tuesday after fleeing a tough reelection race to run in a more GOP-leaning district, harried by accusations of carpetbagging and still bruised by an embarrassing video.

Boebert, who planted her MAGA flag in the House of Representatives in 2020, has amassed national conservative clout. But along with the limelight have come public scandals. Her decision to switch districts came after video surfaced of her vaping and causing a disturbance with a date at a musical production of “Beetlejuice.”

Boebert said she made the switch to ensure another Republican could win her old district, which she nearly lost in 2022, and she blamed outside groups for targeting her. But she had already become a fundraising magnet for the district's likely Democratic candidate, who has pulled in millions that may help him flip a seat that has leaned Republican in recent years.

On Tuesday voters will get their say in Boebert's new district, where she faced off against more traditional rivals including former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg; current state Reps. Mike Lynch and Richard Holtorf; and parental rights advocate Deborah Flora.

The winner is expected to also take the November general election in the heavily conservative 4th Congressional District, which sweeps across a wide expanse of ranches, ghost towns and conservative parts of the Denver metro area that make up much of the plains of eastern Colorado. Its voters overwhelmingly backed former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

The seat opened up after former Republican Rep. Ken Buck resigned from Congress. A special election was also being held Tuesday to fill the remaining months of Buck’s term, with Republican Greg Lopez, a former mayor of the city of Parker, favored to beat a Democrat and third-party candidates.

Buck cited the divisiveness of today's politics and his party's devotion to Trump in explaining his decision to resign. That division remains a factor in the race and is also on display in another Republican House primary in Colorado Springs, about an hour's drive south of Denver.

In the 5th Congressional District, Republican Dave Williams faces condemnation from his own ranks and demands for his resignation as GOP party chair, accused of using his position and state party resources to boost his own campaign.

The final straw for some Republicans was a recent email calling people celebrating Gay Pride Month “godless groomers.” The state party's account on the social platform X also posted: “Burn all the #pride flags this June.”

Williams faces Jeff Crank, a conservative commentator who has a similar political platform but breaks in style and disposition. Both are vying to fill the seat of Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who is not seeking reelection.

Williams is a hard-line Trump acolyte who has parroted the former president's lies about the 2020 election and attacked fellow Republicans who don't align. Crank is molded in an older, more pragmatic GOP tradition.

As in the 4th District, the winner of the Republican-friendly 5th District will be favored in the general election.

Another House race watched closely on the national level is the 8th District, newly minted after redistricting in 2021 and hotly contested with voters roughly split between the two major parties.

The district, which stretches north of Denver, is currently represented by Democrat Yadira Caraveo, who won by less than 2,000 votes in 2022. Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans and former state Rep. Janak Joshi, a retired physician, are vying to challenge Caraveo, with Evans a former police officer, considered the front-runner.

The primary winner will likely benefit from a windfall of support from the National Republican Campaign Committee, which is intent on defending the party's thin House majority.

Farther to the west, among the Rocky Mountains and high desert mesas, a half-dozen Republicans were looking to replace Boebert as the nominee in the 3rd District.

The contenders include attorney Jeff Hurd and former Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks, whose differences largely follow the contours of Cranks’ and Williams’, respectively. Other candidates include Stephen Varela, a former Democrat who switched parties, businessman Lew Webb and financial advisor Russ Andrews.

The winner will likely be up against Adam Frisch, the businessman and Democratic candidate who lost to Boebert by only 546 votes in 2022, garnering name recognition from that close race. in the conservative district. Frisch raised at least $13 million for his 2024 campaign.

This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Rep. Caraveo's first name to Yadira, instead of Yadiro.

Jesse Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

FILE - Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party Dave Williams speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. Republican candidate Williams is running in Colorado's 5th Congressional District as he faces condemnation from his own ranks over anti-LGBTQ+ emails and using his position as state GOP chairman to boost his own campaign. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

FILE - Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party Dave Williams speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. Republican candidate Williams is running in Colorado's 5th Congressional District as he faces condemnation from his own ranks over anti-LGBTQ+ emails and using his position as state GOP chairman to boost his own campaign. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

FILE - Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks during a news conference, July 14, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boebert faces her first election in Colorado's GOP primary election Tuesday, June 25, 2024, after she fled a tough reelection race to run in a more Republican-leaning district. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

FILE - Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., speaks during a news conference, July 14, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boebert faces her first election in Colorado's GOP primary election Tuesday, June 25, 2024, after she fled a tough reelection race to run in a more Republican-leaning district. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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