Jamal Murray hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31.5 seconds left, and the host Denver Nuggets scored the final 15 points of the game to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-95 on Wednesday night to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Nikola Jokic finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds and Murray scored 17 for Denver. The Nuggets (54-28) will play the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points, Gorgui Dieng had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Cameron Reynolds added 19 points off the bench for the short-handed Timberwolves (36-46).
Minnesota was without star center Karl-Anthony Towns, who sat out the last two games with left knee inflammation.
Despite his absence — and losing by 20 at home against Toronto on Tuesday night — the Timberwolves led 95-84 when Reynolds hit his fifth 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the game. Denver struggled all night to hit shots but heated up.
Jokic hit a short jumper, Will Barton drained a 3-pointer and then split two free throws to make it 95-90 with 1:57 left. Dario Saric missed on the other end and Paul Millsap hit another 3-pointer with 1:30 left to pull Denver within two.
The Timberwolves missed two straight shots and after Millsap tipped Barton’s missed 3-pointer to Murray, he calmly drained one from long range to put Denver ahead 96-95.
Jokic hit two free throws and Millsap one to close it out.
The Timberwolves missed their last eight shots.
It looked like the Timberwolves would pull it out after finishing the third quarter on a 21-8 run to take a 79-73 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves quickly stretched it to 11 on a 3-pointer by C.J. Williams and a layup by Wiggins. Denver cut it to seven but Minnesota answered with a dunk and layup to lead 88-77 with 6:43 left, prompting the Nuggets to call timeout.
Denver couldn’t get any closer until scoring 15 of its 26 points in the fourth quarter in the final 3:10.