'We expect to win no matter who's with us and who's not': Chris Finch lauds Timberwolves’ iron-clad defense in Game 2 rout of Nuggets

Published May 7, 2024, 3:30 PMPao Ambat

It’s just 2-0. But everything about this series screams — make that howls — in favor of the Wolves.

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch marvels at Minnesota’s stingy defense in the Game 2 win vs the Denver Nuggets.

Even without three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner Rudy Gobert, the Minnesota Timberwolves made the defending champion Denver Nuggets frozen, frustrated, and flustered.

Two more wins and a first Western Conference Finals trip since 2004 is within reach for the T-wolves. 

"We've had some really, really good defensive efforts on the year, but that has to be up there with the best of them," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said of Minnesota's Game 2 defensive clinic against Denver for a 2-0 series lead in their West semifinal series. 


[ALSO READ: Gobert-less Timberwolves put up defensive masterclass over defending champ Nuggets for 2-0 series lead]


All-season long, Finch developed this Timberwolves squad to be a tough-minded, defense-first squad who can stifle teams with their hard-nosed play.

No better way to make a statement against the defending champs, in their homecourt, without their main defensive anchor in Gobert.

"We expect to win no matter who's with us and who's not," Finch added. Gobert missed Game 2 due to the birth of his first child.

“Rudy [Gobert] drove the defensive culture here. It’s a testament to his impact, to his presence and what he’s infused to the team on how important defense is.”

The Timberwolves held the Nuggets to 35 points in the first half, 15 in the second quarter, and a season-low 80 for the game. Denver’s passing lanes were clipped, their go-to players silenced. And even when the lead was in the 20s, the Wolves refused to show mercy.

“We got some really good defensive efforts on the ball, off the ball, physicality, execution of the game plan, doing it over and over again,” said Finch. “The physical and mental toughness was great. We really went after it on defense.”

The 2024 Western Conference All-Star coach also lauded his superstar tandem of Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony-Towns, who combined for 54 points in the Game 2 dub.

“KAT came out offensively [and] set the tone. Everything was quick, clean. I thought he really played a super clean game. Ant [Edwards] got off to a little bit of a slower start but I thought the two of them had one of the better rhythm games [and be] in sync with each other. “

Game 3 will be on Saturday, May 11 (Philippine time).