Things can change quickly in the NBA, and Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves are currently finding that out the hard way. After losing Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Denver Nuggets by a score of 112-97, the Timberwolves have quickly gone from holding a commanding 2-0 lead over the Nuggets to finding themselves on the brink of elimination heading into Game 6.

Game 5 was all about Nikola Jokic, who dominated Minnesota on his way to helping Denver take a 3-2 lead in the series (40 PTS, 13 AST, 7 REB, 15/22 FGM). Nobody on the Timberwolves could do anything to stop him, and it led to an eye-opening admission from Edwards as he and his team try to turn the page towards a do-or-die Game 6 contest.

Via Chris Hine:

“Anthony Edwards on Nikola Jokic: ‘I just laugh. That’s all I can do. I can’t be mad. … He’s the MVP, best player in the NBA. He showed it the last 3 games. He was special tonight. I got to give him his flowers. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do. He was that guy tonight.'”

Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves running out of time to slow down Nikola Jokic

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts with center Naz Reid (11) and guard Anthony Edwards (5) in the third quarter during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena.
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Two games into this series, the Timberwolves seemed to be in complete control over the Nuggets, but Jokic has completely imposed his will to lead Denver back to a 3-2 series lead. After yet another masterful performance in Game 5, his numbers for the series help show why he just won his third MVP award over the past four seasons (29.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 9.2 APG, 53.8 FG%).

On the court, Minnesota appears to have no answers for Jokic, which makes Edwards' comments so noteworthy. Rather than being upset with his team's inability to stop Jokic, he simply is tipping his cap to him. That's not exactly an encouraging response as the Timberwolves prepare to try to keep their season alive on their home court in Game 6.

If they do intend on forcing a Game 7, Edwards is going to have to be better than he was on Tuesday night (18 PTS, 9 AST, 4 REB, 5/15 FGM). The Nuggets are making it a goal of theirs to swarm Edwards on offense and force his supporting cast to step up and provide some scoring, but to this point, his teammates haven't been able to help him out much on that side of the ball.

Simply put, the Timberwolves are a team grasping for answers on how to limit Jokic, and they are quickly running out of time to figure out just how to do that. Edwards is clearly at a loss for what he and his team should do, and if they keep that attitude heading into Game 6, chances are their season will be over before they know it. Minnesota has to punch back in Game 6, because if they don't, Jokic is going to pounce on the opportunity to send them home for the offseason.