The No. 1 Denver Nuggets take on the No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The first game of the Western Conference matchup tips off Sunday, April 16. Let’s take a look at how we think this best-of-seven series will play out in the coming week.
Nuggets vs. Timberwolves predictions
Odds to win series: Nuggets -500, Timberwolves +370
Regular season record: Nuggets 53-29, Timberwolves 42-40
Head-to-head record: Tied 2-2
Everything is coming up Denver for the Nuggets, who finally have a healthy squad surrounding Nikola Jokic and had the fourth-most wins in the NBA during the regular season. Jamal Murray will return from a thumb injury that plagued him last week, and with everyone well-rested, as they face a Minnesota team who just played two intense play-in games, the Nuggets are in a very good position right now.
The two teams are well-matched in rebounds per game, and this will be a matchup under the rim between Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns, which the MVP is likely to win. Despite Minnesota’s solid defense, Jokic’s range of shots will likely prove to be too difficult for the Timberwolves to effectively shut down.
Pick: Nuggets in 5 games
Denver will easily win the first two home matchups — the Timberwolves have lost eight of their last 10 at Ball Arena — and could potentially sweep with the talent mismatch of Jokic on Gobert and Towns. I think that the Timberwolves will be able to grab one home win, but once the series heads back to Denver for Game 5, the Nuggets will be able to close it out and advance.