Nuggets Timberwolves game 5: 3 key matchups that could tip the scales

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four / David Berding/GettyImages
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#1. Nuggets bench vs. Timberwolves bench

This matchup is more about which unit plays up to their standards and fulfills their expectations. The Wolves have had a great bench all year, led by Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid. They’ve also gotten huge minutes out of Nickeil Alexander-Walker on both ends and Kyle Anderson and Monte Morris have contributed at times.

This unit has been a strength for the Wolves, but that wasn’t the case in game 4. The bench let the Wolves down big time. Reid’s production was limited and he was a liability on defense while Anderson and NAW were almost unplayable.

The Nuggets bench unit has been a question mark all season and has largely been letting them down in the playoffs. But they were excellent in game 4 as Christian Braun and Justin Holiday both hit several big shots and played great defense. Perhaps most miraculously, the Nuggets actually won the minutes while Jokic was on the bench. 

If that trend continues, the Nuggets will almost certainly win this game. The role players should play better at home - but that hasn’t been the case through four games this series. The Wolves need their bench to be up to the standard they’ve set. If the Nuggets bench retains the upper hand, that will be a major blow to the Wolves’ chances.