Wolves Fall to Nuggets


MENZIE HENDERSON
Wolves Writer


Nuggets 119 (18-13) - Timberwolves 113 (8-25) | Target Center


How it happened:
Despite huge efforts by the dynamic duo of Michael Beasley and Kevin Love, the Timberwolves could not corral Chauncey Billups and the shorthanded Denver Nuggets falling 119-113 at home.

The Timberwolves exploded out of the gates on-fire from nearly everywhere on the floor. Minnesota was able to establish a lead for the majority of the first half behind perfectly executed offensive sets and precision passing. Michael Beasley led the potent Wolves attack with 33 points, while Kevin Love added 26 points and 14 rebounds. Just as things were rolling for Minnesota, the defense and the lead abruptly collapsed.

Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups did not let the absences of Nene, Kenyon Martin, and perennial forward Carmelo Anthony effect the Nuggets offense. Billups showed off his deadly release throughout the contest, finishing 6-of-6 from beyond the arc and hitting multiple clutch shots to answer any Timberwolves run. The veteran point guard topped all scorers with 36 points. Denver also used the unmatchable quickness of Ty Lawson to exploit openings and penetration of Minnesota’s defense. Lawson finished with 19 points off the bench.

The Timberwolves looked for Michael Beasley during a gut-wrenching fourth quarter to put together another late heroic performance, but Minnesota came up just short as the poised Billups closed out the contest for the Nuggets.

Leader of the Pack:
Like the go-to player Michael Beasley is, his endless offensive repertoire gave hope of a narrow comeback win to fans at Target Center. While leading the team in scoring, Beasley also dished out four assists.

Rookie Report:
Wesley Johnson continued to show his sweet stroke from downtown, and hit a few buckets in pivotal times to keep the Timberwolves afloat in the second half. Johnson finished with 10 points and a career high five assists.

Notable Performance:
Timberwolves reserve Martell Webster provided scoring and a huge spark during offensive droughts in the third and fourth quarter. The Wolves looked for Webster to hit at key moments and he responded with 17 points on 6-of-11 from the floor.

Highlight to Remember:
In the midst of weaving his way to the basket, Luke Ridnour spun and got fouled in mid-air and sank an incredible circus shot that lifted the crowd to its feet. Ridnour recorded 20 points and 8 assists in the loss.

The Numbers Game:
Kevin Love recorded his 19th consecutive double-double and league-leading 28th of the season. Tonight also marks Love's 16th double-double of December, matching Kevin Garnett's franchise record for double-doubles in a month (March 2006).

Looking Ahead:
The Timberwolves will hope to start 2011 on a winning streak, as they battle the New Jersey Nets on New Year's Day.


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