Nuggets second-round NBA playoff matchup: collision course with rival imminent

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Three
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Three / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

NBA teams and players should never be looking ahead further than their next game. So while the Nuggets have a 3-0 stranglehold on their first round series with the Lakers, they need to be laser-focused on winning game 4 and finishing off that series. 

But as fans and media members, it’s absolutely time to start looking ahead. This series is absolutely over; maybe the Lakers steal game 4 and send it back to Denver, but they have lost 11 straight to the Nuggets, they aren’t suddenly going to win four straight now.

The Nuggets round 2 opponent

So we can turn our attention to more captivating things, like who will the Nuggets face in round 2? Well, that came into clear focus on Friday night as the Timberwolves went into Phoenix and dominated the Suns to take a 3-0 series lead of their own. That would set up another playoff rematch from last season with the third-seeded T-Wolves taking on the second-seeded Nuggets.

The two teams split the four meetings this season, capped off with a tight back-and-forth battle in April won by the Nuggets. At the time that game looked like it could be a battle for the top seed in the conference - which ultimately went to the Thunder.

Can the Timberwolves challenge the Nuggets?

Minnesota has posed some issues for the Nuggets in the past year or so and they are one of the few teams that can match up fairly well with their size. The Wolves have Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Naz Reid in the frontcourt who can combine to make things (as) difficult (as anyone can) for Nikola Jokic. 

They also have elite perimeter defenders and a lot of guys who can play on both ends around their star Anthony Edwards. Jaden McDaniels, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Kyle Anderson have all played well for the Wolves, and Mike Conley is a great veteran leader and connective presence as a lead ball handler and creator.

The Nuggets will certainly be favored in this matchup as they are the better and more experienced team with the best player in the world. But there’s a solid argument to be made that the Wolves could pose as big of a threat as any team (at least in the West). This should be a very fun series and one that will be much more competitive than what we’re seeing in round one.