Timberwolves 101, Nuggets 97By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Jan 3, 2013 11:40 PM EST
DENVER -- Jose Juan Barea came off the bench to score 17 points, Alexey Shved also had 17 points, and the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame the loss of Kevin Love to beat the Denver Nuggets 101-97 Thursday night. Love sat out the final 16 minutes after he sprained a finger on his right hand underneath the basket late in the third quarter. He left to have an X-ray but returned to the bench at the start of the fourth quarter. He didn't get back into the game, finishing with 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds in 24 minutes. Ty Lawson, who returned from a one-game absence, and Kosta Koufas scored 16 points each for the Nuggets (18-16), who had their eight-game home winning streak snapped. When Love left the game, Minnesota trailed by 10, but 3-pointers from Luke Ridnour and Barea and six points from Shved gave the Wolves a 73-72 lead early in the fourth. The game was tied at 91 when Ridnour drained a 27-foot 3-pointer to give Minnesota the lead for good with 2:43 left. After an airball by Andre Miller at the other end, the Timberwolves (15-14) called a timeout. Barea hit another 3 to put Minnesota up 97-91 with 1:43 left. After Miller hit a layup, Dante Cunningham came up with a big offensive rebound with 1:21 left -- Minnesota's 17th of the game -- and fed Barea for a layup that put the Wolves up by six again. Denver guard Andre Iguodala had a chance to cut the lead to two, but he missed a free throw, and the Timberwolves closed it out at the line. The Timberwolves fell behind by nine late in the first quarter but came back in the second. Love continued to struggle from the field but was a force in the first half, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds as Minnesota took a 47-43 lead at the break. NOTES: Miller became the eighth player in NBA history to score 15,000 points and have at least 7,000 assists when he scored a bucket with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. He entered the game needing two points to reach the 15,000 milestone. He began the night with 7,657 assists, good for 10th on the all-time list. He had 11 points and 10 assists in Thursday's loss. ... Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio missed his third straight game with back spasms, but coach Rick Adelman said Rubio could return Saturday when the Timberwolves play at home against Portland. ... Adelman said Love's recent shooting struggles have had an effect of the forward. "He has struggled with his shooting, but the important thing is for him to just fight through it and come back and with a strong game," Adelman said. "He has had games where he has played very well and looked very active, and then he has had games like he had (Wednesday) night where he didn't. It's not just him. We collectively as a group really had a bad game." ... Love (13.8 per game) and Denver forward Kenneth Faried (10.2) ranked second and 10th, respectively, in rebounding in the NBA entering play Thursday. Faried finished with eight points and six boards against Minnesota.
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