Live updates from Timberwolves-Nuggets playoff game

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The Timberwolves and Nuggets meet tonight in the first game of their playoff series. Reporter Chris Hine of the Star Tribune’s Wolves Beat has live reporting from Denver’s Ball Arena.

7:03 p.m.: The Nuggets lead 44-40 at halftime despite no points from Jamal Murray

The Timberwolves’ offense was nonexistent – except for Anthony Edwards – and they trailed the Nuggets 44-40 at halftime.

Edwards had 25 of Minnesota’s 40 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while the rest of the Wolves were just 6-of-27. Karl-Anthony Towns made three of those baskets for nine points.

The Wolves’ defense did a commendable job limiting Denver’s efficient offense — the Nuggets were just 16 for 40 from the field — but the Wolves failed to take advantage on the other end.

The Wolves shut down Jamal Murray, who finished the half 0-for-5 and didn’t score, while Edwards handled plenty of one-on-one duties against Murray. Murray was the hero of Denver’s first-round victory over the Lakers, hitting game-winning shots in Games 2 and 5.

Nikola Jokic has 15 points, four rebounds and five assists for Denver while Michael Porter Jr. has 13.

6:35 p.m.: Denver rally from 18-4 hole to take 25-23 lead in first quarter

The Wolves couldn’t have started the first quarter better – and they couldn’t have finished it worse.

After leading 18-4 to start the game, Denver closed the quarter on a 21-5 run to take a 25-23 lead after one.

Anthony Edwards had 16 points for the Wolves, who stopped Denver when the teams had their starters on the floor. They held Jamal Murray to 0-for-3 from the field and held Denver to just four points in the first 7:10 of the game.

But Denver is never more than one run away from getting back into a game.

The Wolves’ bench minutes, one of their potential strengths in the series, were a disaster in the first quarter. Naz Reid tried too hard to make things happen at times and missed an easy shot and made a costly turnover. The Wolves struggled to score outside of Edwards.

Nikola Jokic, likely NBA MVP this season for the third time, scored nine in the first for the Nuggets.

6:10 p.m.: Finch has a nice place to train

The question of how Chris Finch would coach Wolves tonight was answered quite quickly and comfortably.

Finch sat to the right of head assistant coach Micah Nori, one row behind Nori. A radio broadcast table protects Finch from oncoming traffic.

Finch is able to get up and talk with players during timeouts.

4:40 p.m.: Wolves coach Chris Finch will sit near the team’s bench while Micah Nori calls plays.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch left his crutches with a member of the team’s public relations staff and took the podium at the pregame news conference.

“It was easy,” Finch joked before making his first public comments since surgery Wednesday on a torn right patella tendon.

Finch was injured Sunday in the closing game of a first-round series in Phoenix and there were questions about what his role would be in this series.

He will be on the bench for game assistant Micah Nori, who will handle interactions and flow of play as a permanent sideline coach.

“I feel pretty good, all things considered. The plan was to try to be here all along,” Finch said. “Just seeing how I felt day in and day out. And then understanding, logistically, how it could work being on the bench and with the other coaches.”

Finch has used crutches to get around at Wolves training in recent days and before the game. Finch said his goal since suffering his injury has been to get to Denver and help in any way he can after Wednesday’s surgery.

“I was wide open about everything,” Finch said. “They told me they really wanted me to rest. I tried to do that. But I also wanted to be here, if I could be here in any capacity. That was the most important thing. important to me. Literally I take it day by day and see how I feel.”

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