The Timberwolves, at the moment, are the best team in the NBA.

They need 10 more victories to win a championship and have the right to say that themselves. The rest of us don't have to wait. We can see it.

The Denver Nuggets were the best team in the NBA last season and destroyed their competition in the playoffs to easily win the title.

In this second-round playoff series, the Wolves won the first game despite playing inefficiently on offense, then embarrassed the champs in Game 2 on Monday night in Denver, winning 106-80 after taking a 61-35 lead into halftime.

In two games, the Wolves have reduced the defending champs to a bumbling bunch of whiners.

The Wolves blew out the Nuggets at altitude, in a supposedly tough place to play, and without presumptive defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert, who was with his fiancée for the birth of their child.

The infant could not have cried any more than the Nuggets did Monday.

Jamal Murray complained all game, seemingly because he's not used to being guarded so intensely. Cameras even caught him throwing a heat pack (or something similar) from the bench onto the court when a call went against Denver, a classless and dangerous act. He also gestured to the officials in a way that suggested he thought they were on the take.

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Michael Malone, the Nuggets' usually likable coach, rushed an official, screaming in his face, and didn't get called for a technical foul.

Nikola Jokic, who might be ceding his title of "World's Best Player" to Wolves star guard Anthony Edwards in this series, joked after Game 1 that the solution to Denver's problems was to clone him.

He said that after facing the Wolves' imposing frontline of Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid, but in Game 2, he couldn't operate efficiently against the crafty Kyle Anderson either.

Jokic himself quit on defense on a few plays, failing to move his feet and letting Edwards and Anderson score easily on him early in the third.

Jokic was 3-for-8 with eight points, four turnovers and a minus-18 rating at the half, giving him 11 turnovers in six quarters against the Wolves' swarming defense.

Murray finished 3-for-18 from the field, perhaps partly because of his sore calf, but more likely because he's never dealt with a defense like Minnesota's.

While holding the Nuggets to 35 points in the first half, the Wolves committed just six fouls. This was a defensive clinic, combining size, quickness, footwork, teamwork, awareness, discipline and aggressiveness.

The Wolves hassled the Nuggets ballhandlers so relentlessly that making basic entry passes proved difficult.

Watching the Wolves establish themselves as the best defensive team in the NBA, and perhaps simply the best team in the league, is thrilling for Minnesotans, but I have to make a confession.

I wanted more out of this series. I wanted the Nuggets, a team I admired, to perform and behave like champions, to see whether the Wolves could beat a great team at its best.

Instead, a humanitarian would hope that the Nuggets can exit this series with some semblance of dignity.

With Gobert absent, Towns and Edwards took it upon themselves to dominate offensively. The two stars outscored the Nuggets 36-35 in the first half and finished with 27 points apiece on a combined 21-32 shooting from the field.

Maybe the Phoenix Suns, instead of contemplating a roster revision, can take pride in having played the Wolves tougher than the defending champs.

The Wolves are 6-0 in these playoffs. They have waited 20 years for a playoff run. They need to do something to make this series more interesting.

Maybe they can hold "Jamal Murray Heat Pack Night" on Friday. Maybe loan Tim Connelly to the Nuggets for the rest of the series.

The Wolves are bigger, deeper, better defensively and more versatile than the Nuggets.

What's more surprising is that the Wolves also appear to be smarter, better-coached and tougher.

The competitive portion of Game 2 ended as Edwards headed to the bench in the fourth quarter and "M-V-P" chants rained down.

There was some urgency to the chants, as if they suspected that this was their last chance to see Edwards in Denver this season.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.