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Taj Gibson's miracle steal ends Timberwolves playoff drought

Jimmy Butler adjusted his mouth guard in the first quarter

Updates with new lead. This was the first final-day play-in game in the league in 21 years.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The toughness that Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and the rest of the veterans brought to the Minnesota Timberwolves this season was on display from start to finish.

FOX Sports North reaches more than 2 million homes throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North and South Dakota and telecasts almost 2,600 hours of locally produced programming per year.

The Thunder's seeding placement for the Western Conference playoffs will be officially known later Wednesday night, but the victory assures that the Thunder will at least be the No. 6 seed and will play Utah in the first round.

The Kings took advantage of Houston's depleted lineup and ended another disappointing season off by snapping a seven-game skid against the Rockets.

Gibson stole the ball from Jokic in the short corner on a possession that could've won it for the Nuggets in the closing seconds of regulation, and continued to muscle him up and harass him in OT, holding Denver's top gun to three points on 1-for-6 shooting over the final 10 minutes of game time. The Nuggets (46-36) haven't made the playoffs in five years.

Former Duquesne guard Aaron Jackson, who has played professionally overseas since graduating from DU in 2009, made his National Basketball Association debut last night as a member of the Houston Rockets.

"We'll enjoy it a little bit", said Butler, who scored 31 points.

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The Nuggets took an early lead, but the Wolves quickly pounced on a exhausted Nuggets team that could no longer buy a basket.

Will Barton, who had 24 points, made a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock for Denver's first lead, 104-103, since midway through the first quarter.

That young core around which they would build - Towns, Wiggins, LaVine and point guard Ricky Rubio - has been reduced to Towns, an all-star who at 22 still has his best years ahead of him.

It will mark just the second postseason meeting between the two teams.

Murray on what he learned as a second-year player: "I know what it takes to win, the energy and the focus you have to have". And play down low was physical on both ends, with Millsap hitting the deck multiple times. "So, from now on, stay in my lane". The Rockets don't allow teams to keep up with them, they simply humiliate them, by running up the score. Nikola Jokic missed a layup. Jamal Crawford's heave from just inside half court was on line, but it fell short.

"He told me after the shootaround that he's from Brooklyn", coach Tom Thibodeau said, "and he said he'd be fine".

It was the NBA's first winner-gets-in, loser-goes-home game since 1997.

Six players are averaging at in double figures for the Rockets, they are James Harden (30.4), Chris Paul (18.6), Eric Gordon (18.0), Clint Capela (13.9), Gerald Green (12.1) and Trevor Ariza (11.7). Wilson Chandler, meanwhile, concluded his disappointing season with an 0-for-3 outing in 48 minutes. The Nuggets had 15 turnovers, turning into 24 points for the Wolves. They earned the eighth seed with a 47-35 record - the most wins since their last playoff appearance.

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