5 Standout statistics from Minnesota's Game 1 win

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game One
Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets - Game One / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
4 of 5

2. Karl-Anthony Towns limiting Nikola Jokic to 33.3 percent shooting

The Timberwolves' defensive plan to corral two-time MVP will likely pay dividends as the series progresses. In Game 1, Towns posed as Jokic's primary defender. In a little over six minutes defending the Serbian superstar, Towns held Jokic to a 4-of-12 shooting performance.

The Nuggets All-Star only scored 10 points on Towns while turning the ball over four times. Seven of Jokic's 12 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. The 7-foot, 250-pound Towns did a fantastic job forcing Jokic to score from the perimeter instead of the restricted area.

The most beneficial aspect of Towns defending Jokic is allowing Gobert to roam on the defensive end. Rather than lining up against Denver's star big man, Gobert is free to patrol the paint. The French center spent much of his time defending Aaron Gordon—a relative non-shooter. Gordon is capable of knocking down an open 3-pointer, but letting a 29.0 percent shooter launch shots from deep is a sound plan.

The Towns-Jokic, Gobert-Gordon strategy isn't totally new. Towns spent 6-plus minutes (one game against Denver) defending Jokic in the regular season. In his time defending Jokic, Towns forced the All-Star to shoot just 35.7 percent from the field.

Towns has had much better success defending Jokic than Gobert has. While matching up the multi-time All-NBA center with a multi-time Defensive Player of the Year seems like a logical plan, better judgment has led to the Wolves' staff employing Towns as Jokic's primary defender.