Chris Finch Created Timberwolves Gm 2 Defense Specifically to Beat Nuggets… Then Hid it All Year

Chris Finch, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves have shocked the NBA by taking a 2-0 series lead against the defending champion, Denver Nuggets, in the Western Conference semifinals. Game two, which featured what some are calling one of the best defensive performances of all time, has everyone jumping on the Wolves’ hype train.

Today, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst made an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, offering fascinating insights into just how long Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has been meticulously “planning and plotting” the game plan we saw unleashed in game two for a year.

Chris Finch plotted game plan vs Nuggets since last year

Reflecting on last year’s playoffs, the Timberwolves went head-to-head with the Denver Nuggets, only to be defeated in the first round with a series score of 1-4. Following their loss, the Nuggets went on to secure the NBA finals title (transcribed below).

“I think Chris Finch, the coach of the Timberwolves, he has been planning and plotting how to play this game plan for maybe a year. He had this tucked away in the file, and this game plan, where they were gonna press full court.

Plus, they saw Jamal Murray’s calf was a little bit sore, and they’re like, ‘we’re gonna put it to them.’ And they’re like, ‘Why should Jokic be able to dribble over half court just because he’s a center? He’s not allowed to do that. We’ve got three centers, we’re gonna press them.'”

And the Nuggets acted like they had never seen it before. To be honest with you, there are very few game plan coaching moves that no one‘s ever seen before. Maybe you throw a zone or you throw a matchup difference and it staggers a team for four or five possessions or maybe it works for like a game.

This game plan that Chris Finch came out with, holy moly. What an effective game plan. I mean, the Nuggets never look rattled. They were so rattled [in game 2], they’re throwing stuff on the court, blaming the officials. They can’t even get the ball over half court. And not only that, [Rudy] Gobert was out in game 2.”

Brian Windhorst – Pat McAfee Show

According to Windhorst, Finch has been putting in the work on how to beat Denver ever since. The Nuggets encountered a defensive game plan from the Timberwolves on Monday that they had never been introduced to before. We all saw it. The reigning defending champions were shell shocked by how Minnesota guarded them.

Related: The Minnesota Timberwolves are the NWO Wolfpac of the NBA

The Wolves played with a level of intensity and aggressiveness that had a normally unflappable veteran NBA squad yelling, screaming… and even throwing bench debris onto the court. And they did all of that without the Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, in the lineup.

The Timberwolves are in a situation where they lose the Defensive Player of the Year, and they didn’t know I think the plan for for three days you have the baby good for her congratulations but she gets that team ready to play and not just him Mike Conley I think he’s from India and Edwards all those guys Carl towns they’re like you know what we don’t have the defensive player of the year we’re gonna go play the best defensive game we’ve seen.

Brian Windhorst – Pat McAfee Show

The Timberwolves have emerged from the 2023-24 NBA regular season as a defensive powerhouse. Now, their prowess is on full display as the playoffs bring them into the national spotlight. With just two wins separating them from the Western Conference Finals, they stand on the brink of achieving a historic milestone for this organization.

Related: LeBron James Raves About What Makes the Timberwolves So Good

If successful, it would mark only the second time in franchise history that the Minnesota Timberwolves have reached the West championship. Beyond that, lies the opportunity to make their first ever appearance in the NBA Finals, a feat that would rewrite those history books.

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