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Nuggets-Timberwolves Preview

AP - Sports

Kevin Love returned the last time the Minnesota Timberwolves took on the Denver Nuggets.

The Timberwolves have not officially ruled out Ricky Rubio for the second meeting of the season between these teams Wednesday night at the Target Center.

Denver (11-11) spoiled Love's surprise return for Minnesota (9-9) with a 101-94 road win Nov. 21. Love came back with 34 points and 14 boards after missing the first nine games, though he wasn't expected to be back that soon after breaking his hand in mid-October.

Rubio has been practicing for the Timberwolves, who have not played since Friday's 91-73 home victory over Cleveland. He's said he will play when his knee feels better, and coach Rick Adelman is not sure what his point guard rotation will look like with Minnesota beginning a stretch of six games in nine days.

"I don't really have an answer until I find out what Ricky's status is," Adelman said.

Forward Andrei Kirilenko said that Rubio has "looked great" in practice, although he wouldn't venture a guess as to when Rubio will make his season debut.

"He's (one of) those kind of guys that can make a difference in the game," Kirilenko said. "And playing games in practice, you see that."

The Nuggets were able to withstand the return of Love for their 20th victory in the last 22 games of this series between Northwest Division rivals thanks to a balanced attack. Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points, Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala each added 18 while Kenneth Faried battled Love inside and came away with 14 boards.

That defeat was part of a season-high five-game skid for Minnesota, which has gone 4-2 since that slide.

"It was part of that stretch, we got great (starts) and couldn't finish five games in a row," Kirilenko said. "I think lately we've been playing a little bit differently, we've kind of concentrated at the end and I hope we're going to be able to do (it) tomorrow."

Love has posted double-doubles in eight of nine games since coming back. He had a season-high 36 points and 13 boards against the Cavaliers.

The Nuggets are trying to finish their five-game trip with a winning record after battling back from an early 17-point deficit for Tuesday's 101-94 victory at Detroit.

Lawson had 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds, but the key was a big effort by the Denver bench. Reserve Corey Brewer scored 15 points, JaVale McGee had 12 and Andre Miller added 11 and seven assists.

"The bench came in and gave us a big lift,'' said Lawson, averaging 20.8 points on the trip. "JaVale was dunking, Corey was stealing the ball and getting easy layups and Andre was running the show.''

Denver has led in the fourth quarter of every game on this trip.

"It has kind of been like that all season, but it is a tough road swing and we needed this win to go into Minnesota and try to get that one tomorrow," Miller said.

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