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Timberwolves force Game 7 by blowing out Nuggets 115-70 behind 27 points from Anthony Edwards

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Timberwolves force Game 7 by blowing out Nuggets 115-70 behind 27 points from Anthony Edwards
Sport

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Timberwolves force Game 7 by blowing out Nuggets 115-70 behind 27 points from Anthony Edwards

2024-05-17 13:38 Last Updated At:13:40

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards flashed seven fingers to the roaring crowd as he walked off for a fourth-quarter timeout during a blowout by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He had that tenacious look of a superstar player refusing to cede to the defending champs all night.

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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels dunks against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards flashed seven fingers to the roaring crowd as he walked off for a fourth-quarter timeout during a blowout by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray walks on the court during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray walks on the court during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone watches during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone watches during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic reacts toward a referee during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic reacts toward a referee during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) works toward the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns defends during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) works toward the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns defends during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards dunks against then Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards dunks against then Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edward, left, runs down the court after making a 3-point shot against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edward, left, runs down the court after making a 3-point shot against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Edwards scored 27 points to pull the Timberwolves out of their mid-series slump and deliver a flawless 115-70 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday to force a Game 7 in this roller-coaster matchup.

Jaden McDaniels pitched in 21 points and lockdown defense, and Mike Conley had 13 points in his return from injury. Big men Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid combined for 38 rebounds and a relentless effort to keep NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to a relatively quiet 22 points.

The Wolves posted the largest winning margin in a postseason game since 2015, when Chicago beat Milwaukee by 54 points in a first-round series clincher, according to Sportradar.

“Guys just believing in themselves,” Edwards said. “I think the last three games we were all down on ourselves.”

The decisive game for a spot in the Western Conference finals is in Denver on Sunday night. Just as Edwards promised the locker room staffer at Ball Arena after the Wolves lost in Game 5.

Jamal Murray struggled again with 10 points on 4-for-18 shooting while battling a sore elbow for the Nuggets, whose bench was outscored 36-9 — and seven of those points came in the final five minutes. The Wolves reserves led a 24-0 run in the fourth quarter on the way to a staggering 50-point lead, a fitting follow-up to the 20-0 surge the starters led in the opening frame.

“We talked a lot today just about getting our edge back, our swagger, playing a little more free and easy,” coach Chris Finch said. “It just felt like we hadn’t had our best effort on both sides of the ball yet.”

No defending NBA champion had ever lost in the playoffs by more than 36 points until this flop by the Nuggets, who were outrebounded 62-43.

“That to me speaks volumes about the game and our approach,” Denver coach Mike Malone said.

Aaron Gordon had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who finished just 7 for 36 from 3-point range and trailed by at least 17 points for the last 31 minutes of the game.

For the Wolves, offense from McDaniels is typically a bonus, but he can’t be as quiet as he was over the first five games with a total of 35 points. He was all over the court this time, going 3 of 5 from deep and mixing in some well-timed dunks to ignite the crowd.

Edwards, whose 44-point performance was ultimately wasted in a Game 4 loss the last time he played at Target Center, had nine points in the 20-0 spurt and needed only nine shots from the floor to get 19 points in the first half.

“Just shoot it every chance I get, because last game they took the ball out of my hands,” Edwards said.

In the third quarter, he turned a steal into a fast break before using two crossover dribbles to get Michael Porter Jr. in the air and blow by him for a dunk. A few minutes later, he drove past Porter to draw a foul and landed hard on his back. The Wolves called timeout to give Edwards more time to catch his breath, and when he walked back on the court without missing time the “MVP!” chants fired up.

The Wolves were frequently in disarray on offense during Game 5 in Denver while Conley sat out with right leg soreness, and the 17-year veteran point guard clearly helped keep the half-court sets crisp and organized in his return.

“It was a no-brainer. I was going to try to find a way,” Conley said. “We’re just better when we’re a complete team.”

The Wolves held the Nuggets to 14 points in the first quarter, tied for the second-lowest total in the league this postseason behind Miami (12 points) in a Game 3 loss to Boston in the first round.

Murray had a devil of a time doing anything productive against McDaniels, Edwards and the rest of the NBA-leading defense that snapped to life after revealing some sizeable cracks over the last three games.

Murray, who had a 3-for-18 clunker in Game 2, tried everything from leaners, fadeaways and spot-up 3-pointers. He even air-balled a finger roll from the baseline, then got backed down in a bad matchup by Naz Reid in the post on the subsequent possession for a flip-in that put the Wolves up 43-24.

McDaniels tipped in a missed 3-pointer by Reid at the halftime buzzer to make it 59-40, a sharp contrast from the 55-foot swish Murray had at the end of the second quarter in Game 3 to cap an 8-0 run over 20 pivotal seconds of that contest.

“Speaking from experience,” Murray said, “Game 6 is always the hardest.”

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

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels dunks against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels dunks against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray walks on the court during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray walks on the court during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone watches during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone watches during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic reacts toward a referee during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic reacts toward a referee during the first half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) works toward the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns defends during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) works toward the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns defends during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards dunks against then Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards dunks against then Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edward, left, runs down the court after making a 3-point shot against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edward, left, runs down the court after making a 3-point shot against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A man who once described himself as “king” of a notoriously violent gang in Haiti and is linked to the kidnapping of 16 U.S. citizens was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

Germine Joly, best known as “Yonyon,” had pleaded guilty in late January to weapons smuggling and the laundering of ransoms related to the U.S. citizens kidnapped in October 2021, bringing his trial to a halt.

The case against Joly is part of an ongoing push by U.S. authorities to stem the smuggling of weapons from the U.S. to Haiti, where gangs control 80% of the capital and have left more than 580,000 people homeless as they continue to pillage neighborhoods in a quest to seize more territory. U.S. officials also are trying to crack down on the kidnapping of U.S. citizens in Haiti, whose ransoms finance the purchase of illegal arms and ammunition.

“The leaders of violent gangs in Haiti that terrorize Americans citizens in order to fuel their criminal activity will be met with the full force of the Justice Department," U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.

Joly, 31, had asked the judge for leniency and forgiveness, with his attorneys requesting that he receive no more than 17.5 years in prison. The attorneys did not immediately return messages for comment.

Joly was co-leader of the 400 Mawozo, which translates roughly to “400 Simpletons,” one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs. It controls part of Croix-des-Bouquets, a neighborhood in the eastern region of the Port-au-Prince capital and surrounding areas. It also operates along a route that connects the capital with the border city of Jimaní in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

The gang is known for its high record of kidnappings as well as trafficking of drugs and weapons, killings, rapes and armed robberies, among other things, according to a U.N. report.

“The 400 Mawazo gang not only wreaks havoc in its own communities but targets innocent Americans living and traveling in Haiti," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

Three shipments containing smuggled weapons and ammunition arrived in Haiti in 2021, shortly before the gang kidnapped 17 missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens, the U.N. report noted. The weapons alone were estimated to cost roughly $28,000, it added.

“This single case indicates that 400 Mawozo is able to mobilize significant amounts of money to acquire firearms and ammunition,” the report stated.

The gang is still led by Joseph Wilson, best known as “Lanmò San Jou,” which means “Death has no date,” and it is an ally of G-Pep, a powerful gang federation.

Haitian authorities announced a warrant for Wilson in late 2020, but he has yet to be detained.

Meanwhile, Haitian police arrested Joly in 2014, and in 2018, a local judge sentenced him to life in prison, from where authorities said he still directed gang operations, including the October 2021 kidnapping of 12 adults and five minors after they visited an orphanage in the Croix-des-Bouquets area. The group included 16 Americans and one Canadian who worked with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.

The organization said 12 of the captive missionaries escaped, with five others previously freed, although it’s unclear if any ransom was paid.

In 2022, the U.S. government extradited Joly.

Joly’s former girlfriend, Eliande Tunis of Pompano Beach, Florida, had been sentenced earlier this month to 12.5 years in prison. Tunis, 46, had pleaded guilty in late January to the same charges Joly faced.

U.S. federal prosecutors had accused Joly, Tunis and two other suspects of buying and supplying weapons to the 400 Mawozo gang from at least March through November 2021. The weapons included those designed for “military and close-quarters combat” such as AK-47s, AR-15s and a .50 caliber rifle, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The agency said that Joly, who was in prison in Haiti at the time, directed operations using unmonitored cell phones. He still faces separate charges in another case related to the kidnappings of the U.S. citizens.

US judge sentences Germine Joly, former leader of a powerful gang in Haiti, to 35 years in prison

US judge sentences Germine Joly, former leader of a powerful gang in Haiti, to 35 years in prison

US judge sentences Germine Joly, former leader of a powerful gang in Haiti, to 35 years in prison

US judge sentences Germine Joly, former leader of a powerful gang in Haiti, to 35 years in prison

FILE - Kenya police patrol the streets of Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Hundreds of Kenyan police officers are leaving for Haiti, where they will lead a multinational force against powerful gangs. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga, File)

FILE - Kenya police patrol the streets of Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Hundreds of Kenyan police officers are leaving for Haiti, where they will lead a multinational force against powerful gangs. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga, File)

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