Minnesota (1-15) at Denver (12-4)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sun Nov 29, 2009
  • TV: FSN, ALT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Just four days ago, Carmelo Anthony(notes) and the Denver Nuggets coasted to an easy win over Minnesota to extend the Timberwolves’ lengthy losing streak.

Very little suggests Sunday’s meeting will be any different.

Coming off the highest-scoring game of his career, Anthony looks to lead the Nuggets to their 11th consecutive victory over Minnesota, which is trying to avoid matching a franchise record with its 16th straight defeat.

Anthony carried Northwest Division-leading Denver (12-4) to a 128-125 win over New York on Friday, the Nuggets’ fourth victory in a row and sixth in seven games. He finished with a career-best 50 points and his two free throws with 16 seconds remaining sealed the win.

“‘Melo is one of the best players in the world,” said point guard Chauncey Billups(notes), who finished with a season-high 32 points. “If you’ve got him going like that, then you’ve got to ride him.”

This was a stark contrast to Denver’s previous game, when Anthony, averaging a career-best and league-leading 30.9 points, was hardly needed in Wednesday’s 124-111 win over the Timberwolves. He finished with 22 points in a season-low 29 minutes as the high-powered Nuggets had little trouble against the vulnerable Minnesota defense and led by as many as 27.

Billups added 19 points and Nene had 17 as seven Denver players scored in double figures for the team’s 10th straight win over the Timberwolves since losing 99-94 on Feb. 14, 2007.

The Nuggets, averaging 116.3 points on 50.8 percent shooting in their last four games, aren’t the only team giving Minnesota problems.

The Timberwolves (1-15) defeated New Jersey 95-93 in their season opener, but haven’t won since. Their 15 consecutive losses are one shy of the franchise record set Feb. 29-March 29, 1992.

“Losing is like a form of depression. It wears on you and it drains energy out of you,” rookie Jonny Flynn(notes) said after Friday’s 120-95 loss to Phoenix. “You can see it all on your face. I think tonight it really started getting to us.”

Rarely have the games been close for the Timberwolves, who are being outscored by an average of 14.7 points and have five defeats by at least 23. They showed little fight Friday, shooting 36 percent against the defense-averse Suns in the first three quarters while falling behind by 32.

“It seems like this is the 100th game in a row where we’re down big,” said Flynn, averaging 18.3 points in his last three games. “It definitely gets to you.”

Trying to snap this skid in Denver isn’t ideal.

The Nuggets have won 17 straight regular-season games at the Pepsi Center since a 97-95 defeat to Houston on March 9, and have outscored their seven opponents there this season by an average of 14.2 points.

Minnesota, which has lost five straight in Denver, has been outscored by an average of 16.8 points in losing its seven road games this season.

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Sunday, Nov 29