DENVER, April 27 (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves dealt with the rough stuff and have made it very tough for the Denver Nuggets.

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Garnett had 27 points and 14 rebounds and got plenty of help from his teammates as the Timberwolves hung on for an 84-82 victory over the Nuggets and a commanding 3-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

"Sometimes you've got to let a sleeping dog sleep, and they've been doing a real good job of throwing gasoline on the fire," Garnett said. "We heard the comments, we just sat back, waited for the game to be played. Now we're in position to close it out."

Kevin Garnett imposed his will on his team's Game 4 victory.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
After a subpar performance in Game 3 that had the Nuggets belittling the Timberwolves, Garnett arrived at the Pepsi Center three hours before game time to work on his shooting. The favorite for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award wanted to set a tone for his top-seeded team, which never has won a playoff series.

The eighth-seeded Nuggets also tried to set an early tone. In the first three minutes, Nenę shoved Garnett into the seats on a fast break and Marcus Camby kicked him while grappling for a loose ball.

Garnett withstood the physical play to make 8-of-17 shots, including a miraculous reverse layup that teetered on top of the backboard before dropping through, giving Minnesota a 78-74 lead with 4:26 to play.

The Nuggets closed to 81-80 with 1:23 left on consecutive 3-pointers by Voshon Lenard, who was 6-of-7 from the arc and scored 28 points. Minnesota's Latrell Sprewell answered with a 3-pointer 20 seconds later.

A dunk by Nenę with 18 seconds to go halved the deficit, and the Nuggets had a chance to tie after Sprewell missed two free throws with 12 seconds left. But Andre Miller -- defended by stopper Trenton Hassell -- missed a pull-up jumper and Lenard missed a wild follow shot.

After the horn, Sprewell started jawing face-to-face with Nuggets guard Jon Barry before strutting off the court. He and his teammates were showered with beer and debris thrown from the stands.

"We won't be back to go through that again," Sprewell said.

"I'm tired of hearing him talk," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony said.

The Wolves got a huge lift from Hassell, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the pivotal third quarter, made five steals and shut down Anthony. The rookie star made just 1-of-16 shots, twisted his knee in the third period and was benched midway through the fourth quarter.

"It was a team effort. I can't take credit for that," Hassell said. "I rely on my teammates and just hope he isn't hitting his shots."

"Carmelo was out because he was hurt," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "He has a sprained knee, which will be evaluated (Wednesday)."

Minnesota hosts Game 5 on Friday.

"We are a veteran team and we are tough at home," Sprewell said. "I don't think that they will beat us at home."

Anthony was 0-of-9 in the first half, which ended in a 36-36 tie. Hassell added some offense to his defense in the second half, scoring six quick points to give Minnesota the lead for good.

"You have nights like this; it just happened to be Game 4 of the playoffs," Anthony said. "The last time I had a night like this was Indiana in the preseason."

"To be honest, Carmelo needs to move a little better without the ball," Bzdelik said.

Just over a minute after Anthony leaked out for a layup, he landed awkwardly while grabbing a rebound and twisted his left knee and ankle. He went to the locker room with 5:03 left and returned to action about four minutes later, wearing a knee wrap.

A dunk and follow shot by Hassell gave the Wolves their largest lead at 64-55 before two 3-pointers by Lenard cut the deficit to 66-63 entering the final period. Hassell had a driving layup to rebuild the lead to 75-67 with 6:05 to go.

Sam Cassell scored 15 points and Sprewell added 13 for Minnesota, which has lost seven straight first-round series.

Miller scored 13 points and Camby swept 14 boards for Denver, which shot less than 36 percent (33-of-92).