This is why Tom Thibodeau went out last summer and traded for All-Star Jimmy Butler and signed veterans Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford and most recently Derrick Rose.

For a night like tonight, for a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2004.

“It’s a game," Butler said after this morning's shoot at Target Center. "We’ve done this all our lives. This is a game you should want to play in, the so-called big ones.”

The Wolves and Denver will play one game for the right to advance the playoffs, the third time since the current playoff format arrived in 1983-84 that the winning team of a game on the regular season's final day advances and the loser is eliminated.

It last happened April 20, 1997 when Washington beat Cleveland and on April 23, 1995 when the Nuggets beat Sacramento.

"Ain't too much to say, everybody knows," Butler said. "Nobody's stupid around here. Everybody knows we have to win this game. You have to do everything perfect. You want to play a 48-minute game. If there are more minutes than that, we're prepared to play those, too. But ain't too much to say. It's all about going out and doing what you're supposed to do."

The Wolves practiced yesterday and shot this morning. Thibodeau said Gibson -- the Wolves' glue guy whom teammate Jamal Crawford calls its "rock" -- participated in shootaround after he played eight minutes Monday because of a sore neck.

"He went through the whole practice, I think he'll be good," Thibodeau said. "We'll see before the game. Let him warm up."

The Nuggets didn't practice yesterday or shoot this morning after they beat Portland at home 88-82 Monday night to set up tonight's finale. They flew to Minnesota yesterday afternoon.

Thibodeau has coached in Game 7s before, but never a play-in game like this.

"That's what a Game 7 is," he said. "You win and you go on or, I don't want to think about the alternative."

Thibodeau went and acquired those five veterans because they know what tonight's game feels, sounds and smells like.

Asked how he expects Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will handle it, Teague said, "They seem pretty cool right now, chill. I guess Wigs is always chill. But KAT seems very confident, very chill right now. I guess we'll see when the ball tips."

The Nuggets have won six consecutive games -- including last Thursday's 100-96 home victory over the Wolves to get here and with triple-double machine Nikola Jokic present a problem in which Towns, unlike Thursday's game, must avoid getting lured into foul trouble.

Butler, for one, promises to be ready for the moment.

"I just go out there and play," he said. "I'm not scared of the moment. I'm not scared to take that shot. I'm not worried about anything. At the end of the day, I got to guard them like they have to guard me and we'll see who the better team is at the end of the night."

Butler has played three games since returning from a knee injury that caused him to miss 17 games, nearly a quarter of the season. He returned Friday at Los Angeles, one night after the Wolves lost in Denver without him, when Towns fouled out with 1:45 left.

"I'm fine," Butler said. "I don't care if I don't have a rhythm. I don't care if I'm not making shots. I'll find a way to impact the game. All in all, I just want to help this team win. I don't care if I'm making shots, if I'm passing the ball, if I'm guarding, but I'll be there to change the game."

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