The return of Anthony and a home game against the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves would seem to give the Nuggets a good chance to bounce back Monday night.
The Timberwolves, though, are one of the few teams to win at the Pepsi Center this season, and they will try to snap a three-game road skid in the teams’ third meeting of 2009-10.
The Nuggets (23-14) dropped three in a row from Dec. 25-28 and lost Anthony to a bruised right knee suffered during the final loss in that string, 106-101 to Sacramento.
Despite playing without one of the league’s top scorers, Denver stopped that losing streak and has managed to win three of five, averaging 106.4 points after scoring 97.7 during the slide.
Evans’ shot came after Chauncey Billups(notes) tied it on a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining. Billups finished with a team-best 27 points and has averaged 25.0 in five games since returning from a strained left groin.
“It really shouldn’t have came down to (the final shot),” he said. “But they fought hard and we have to give them credit. There were a lot of reasons that we lost this game.”
The presence of Billups and Anthony, averaging a career-best 30.0 points, didn’t help the Nuggets on Nov. 29 against Minnesota. With a 106-100 victory, the Timberwolves snapped Denver’s 17-game home win streak and a 10-game skid to the Nuggets.
Anthony scored 32 points and has averaged 38.5 in his last two home meetings with Minnesota.
The Timberwolves (8-30) have lost six of seven, allowing at least 106 points in each game during that span. They gave up 110 points or more in three consecutive road defeats, the most recent a 110-96 loss to Chicago on Saturday night.
“When you have a scoring drought, you have to pick it up on the defensive end. We didn’t do that tonight and it hurt us,” point guard Jonny Flynn(notes) said. “We’re still trying to figure a lot of things out.”
Minnesota fell to 3-15 away from home in the opener of a four-game trip. The Timberwolves will face a Nuggets team that is 15-3 at the Pepsi Center.
Denver is among the top offensive teams in the NBA at home, scoring 113.2 points per game, and Anthony is the league’s top scorer on his home court with a 30.4 average.
Minnesota is one of the NBA’s worst defensive clubs on the road, allowing 109.1 points a contest.
Along with Anthony’s return, the Nuggets could get rookie guard Ty Lawson(notes) back from an ankle injury Monday. Lawson, averaging 9.5 points and shooting a team-best 44.2 percent from 3-point range, missed the past two contests and will be a game-time decision.