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Timberwolves' Mike Conley returns in Game 6 win vs. Nuggets

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Mike Conley is averaging 11.3 points and seven assists over 31.8 minutes per game in the playoffs.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves had their starting point guard back in the mix for Thursday’s Game 6 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

“He’s in,” Wolves coach Chris Finch told reporters about 90 minutes before tipoff when asked about Conley’s availability.

Conley finished with 13 points, four rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes during the 115-70 victory. With the margin settled, Conley sat the final 8:33 as the Wolves prepped for the trip back to Denver.

Conley missed Game 5 with a sore right Achilles tendon and had been listed questionable all day. The Wolves further clarified the injury as a soleus strain. The soleus is the calf muscle that attaches to your heel bone as part of the Achilles tendon.

Conley suffered the injury in the Timberwolves’ final offensive possession of Game 4, when he missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining of a 115-107 loss.

Conley is averaging 11.3 points and seven assists over 31.8 minutes in Minnesota’s playoff run this season.

In Game 5, the Nuggets keyed in on stopping Wolves star Anthony Edwards, limiting him to 18 points on a 5-for-15 shooting performance that included four turnovers.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker stepped into Conley’s starting spot in Game 5, finishing with 15 points (on 5-for-12 shooting), two rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes. Monte Morris played 11 minutes off the bench as Alexander-Walker’s backup, finishing with six points, two rebounds and three assists.

With 40 points and 13 assists from the indefatigable Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets stymied the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. Denver failed to eliminate Minnesota in Game 6.

“They’re playing better than us right now. They’re outplaying us. They’re playing harder than us. They’re getting all the loose balls. Everything is going their way,” Edwards said. “They’ve got the momentum, and we’ve got to figure out a way to shift it back our way.”

The Nuggets have not only unleashed the staggering impact of the three-time MVP Jokic, but in handing the Wolves their first three-game losing streak of this season they’ve exposed some cracks in the NBA’s leading defense with sharp outside shooting by their secondary scorers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the latest to go off, hitting four of his five 3-point tries in Game 5.

“We’ve still got a chance. There’s no let up. Everybody is still here. I think everybody is still engaged,” said Minnesota center Naz Reid, the Sixth Man of the Year award winner. “I think everybody wants to make that adjustment or that change to get back on top and be ourselves.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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