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NBA play-offs: Nikola Jokic helps Denver Nuggets peg back Minnesota Timberwolves in semi-final series

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Nikola Jokic starred as the Denver Nuggets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-90 to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in the Western Conference play-off semi-finals.

Jokic, who won his third Most Valuable Player award on Thursday, scored 24 points for the defending NBA champions while recording 14 rebounds and nine assists.

The Serb’s efforts in Minneapolis were complemented by Canadian Jamal Murray’s 24 points.

“I think we played much simpler. We were more aggressive than them,” said Jokic. “I think that’s definitely the thing that changed the game.”

The Nuggets, who led by as many as 34 points at one stage, dominated the Timberwolves, with all five starters scoring double figures.

Game four of the best-of-seven series takes place on Monday in Minneapolis.

In Friday’s other game, American Tyrese Haliburton scored 35 points as the Indiana Pacers beat the New York Knicks 111-106 to avoid going 3-0 down in their Eastern Conference semi-final.

Canada’s Andrew Nembhard emerged as an unlikely hero for the Pacers, scoring a three-pointer with 17 seconds left to put his side in the lead in Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows what it looks like when you go down 3-0,” said Haliburton.

“We had to come out, play desperate, play hard.”

American Donte DiVincenzo top-scored for the Knicks with 35 points.

The Pacers will attempt to level the series in game four in Indianapolis on Sunday.

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