Notebook: Timberwolves 101, Nuggets 97



Posted Jan 4, 2013 12:51 AM

By Michael Kelly, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: No Ricky Rubio, no Kevin Love. It didn't matter for the Minnesota Timberwolves, thanks to J.J. Barea.

Barea came off the bench to score 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, rookie Alexey Shved also had 17 points and the Timberwolves overcame injuries and foul trouble to beat the Denver Nuggets 101-97 on Thursday night.

Ty Lawson returned from a one-game absence to score 16 points and Kosta Koufas had 16 as well for the Nuggets, who had their eight-game home winning streak snapped.

QUOTABLE: "One of those games you don't expect with everything going on. They're rested and we come in and win."
-- Minnesota coach Rick Adelman

THE STAT: Andre Miller's basket with 9:58 left in the first quarter gave him 15,000 points for his career. He is the eighth player in NBA history to have at least 15,000 points and 7,000 assists. He finished with 11 points and 10 assists for his 205th career double-double.

TURNING POINT: Tied at 91 in the fourth quarter, Luke Ridnour drained a 3-pointer from 27 feet away to put the Timberwolves up for good with 2:43 left. After a Denver miss, Barea hit another 3-pointer to make it a six-point game. They were the only 3-pointers Minnesota hit in the fourth quarter.

QUOTABLE II: "That was a thrown game. They came in off a back-to-back. This was a game we had to win. Needed to win. We just didn't take advantage of this game."
-- Andre Miller

HOT: Nuggets coach George Karl was heaping praise on Barea before the game and then the guard went out and backed up the words. He played the final 13 minutes and had all five of his assists in the fourth quarter, which meant he had a hand in 24 of the Timberwolves' 32 points in the period.

NOT: The Nuggets. They snapped the Clippers' 17-game winning streak Tuesday but let this one get away from them. They let a 10-point lead evaporate at the end of the third quarter and a six-point lead disappear in the fourth.

QUOTABLE III: "There's always four, five, six games a year where you embarrass yourself and tonight was one of those nights. The sense of urgency didn't come until the fourth quarter."
-- George Karl

INSIDE THE ARENA: Otis Day, made famous from his performance in the 1978 movie Animal House, performed at halftime.

GOOD MOVE: Adelman rode the hot play of Ridnour and Barea in the fourth quarter. The two guards wreaked havoc on Denver's defense, using ball screens to get open. They combined to go 9-for-11 from the field for 21 points.

BAD MOVE: Love suffered a sprained finger on his right hand with 4:23 left in the third quarter. It's the same hand he fractured Oct. 17, which caused him to miss the first nine games of the season. He didn't play after leaving for an X-ray and Adelman said he doesn't know if he'll play Saturday against Portland.

ROOKIE WATCH: Shved continues to impress. He notched his sixth straight game of double-digit points and helped keep the Timberwolves close with some big buckets in the third quarter.

NOTABLE: Rubio didn't make the trip with the team due to back spasms. He could play Saturday. ... Lawson came off the bench for the first time this season. He missed Tuesday's game with a strained left Achilles tendon. ... The Nuggets had 11 steals and 11 blocked shots. ... The Timberwolves are 3-12 in their last 15 games in Denver. ... The Nuggets are 4-13 when allowing 100 or more points.

UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Saturday vs. Portland, Tuesday vs. Atlanta, Wednesday @ Oklahoma City. For the Nuggets, Saturday vs. Utah, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Wednesday vs. Orlando.