MINNEAPOLIS, April 21 (Ticker) -- Latrell Sprewell was the latest member of the Minnesota Timberwolves to star alongside Kevin Garnett.

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Sprewell made a franchise-record seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points, complementing a triple-double by Garnett and lifting the Timberwolves to a 95-81 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The top-seeded Timberwolves again dusted the eighth-seeded Nuggets and opened a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series. Minnesota is halfway toward the first playoff series win in franchise history.

Minnesota's Kevin Garnett notched his third career postseason triple-double on Wednesday.
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In Game 1, Sam Cassell worked the pick-and-roll with Garnett to perfection as he scored a playoff career-high 40 points. Garnett had 30 points and 20 rebounds in almost a supporting role.

The Nuggets appeared committed to slowing down Cassell and Garnett. But Denver's efforts let loose the third head of Minnesota's "three-headed monster." After sinking just 2-of-11 shots in Game 1, Sprewell made 11-of-17 in Game 2, torching Denver's defense.

"I haven't played that well against Denver this year, so with Sam and KG going for 40 and 30 (in Game 1) they kinda forgot about me," he said. "I wanted to be aggressive tonight, but I want to be aggressive every night. This is playoff basketball. If you can't get up for these games, what are you going to get up for?"

"With this team, you have to pick your poison," said Cassell, who scored 12 points. "KG is always going to get his. Tonight they worked hard to shut me down, but Sprewell went off."

Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik knows he has his hands full with the three stars of the Timberwolves.

"There's a reason Minnesota won 58 games," he said. "They're a team that goes beyond a superstar in Kevin Garnett and a great talent in Sam Cassell. We did our best to limit Cassell and make Kevin earn his points. We did that, but Sprewell stuck a dagger in us."

Garnett finished with 20 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists for his third career playoff triple-double. He made just 9-of-27 shots but also backstopped a defense that held the Nuggets to nine points in the second quarter.

"I played like garbage," Garnett said, somewhat harsh on himself. "But this is not a time to leave bullets in the gun. I'm going to still come out shooting. But tonight I tried to do different things, to get my teammates involved."

"KG had an average game for him, but he had 20, 22, and 10. That's him," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "That's why he's the MVP. His average game is better than anybody else's best game."

Game 3 is Saturday at Denver, which has lost six straight playoff games since 1994 and will be hosting a playoff game for the first time in nine years. Minnesota has won 11 straight games dating to the regular season.

In the first quarter, Sprewell had three 3-pointers and scored 14 points as he traded baskets and barbs with Nuggets guard Voshon Lenard, who scored 15 of his 24 points in the period.

"You go out there and take a couple of shots and see if you're hitting," Sprewell said. "Then you try to find the person that is shooting well. Tonight that was me."

"Spree was hot," Lenard said. "I don't think he's shot the ball like that all year."

Denver trailed, 28-27, after 12 minutes but fell apart in the second quarter, when it made just 4-of-17 shots and committed seven turnovers. Minnesota opened the quarter with a 9-0 run and Sprewell had another 3-pointer in an 11-0 burst that gave Minnesota a 50-36 halftime lead.

"The key for us was our defensive intensity," Saunders said. "We turned it up in the second quarter and forced them to take tough shots."

In the second half, Denver never got closer than 11 points. Sprewell had a three-point play and 3-pointer that pushed the advantage to 61-46 with 2:56 left in the third quarter. He iced the win with another 3-pointer that made it 88-69 with 3:28 remaining.

Cassell scored 12 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 11 off the bench for Minnesota. Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony had 15 points and nine rebounds but committed seven turnovers.

"Coach was telling me to wait and let the game come to me, but I think I waited too long," Anthony said.