Nuggets win for seventh time in eight games

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Three weeks and that 1-4 start seem like so long ago to Denver point guard Ty Lawson and the Nuggets, who won for the seventh time in eight games Wednesday when they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-110.
"An eternity," Lawson said. "I remember going 0-3 and everybody having questions, and now we're finally together and knowing each other and we're just having a flow."
Lawson led seven teammates who also scored in double-digits with a 23-point performance. He scored 19 in the first three quarters as the Nuggets built a 15-point lead, and they held off the Wolves in the fourth quarter.
The guy the Nuggets took in the 2009 draft with a pick they acquired from the Wolves helped push the Wolves away one final time after they got within 103-102 with 3:57 left.
The Nuggets answered by scoring the next six points on a night when they scored all 27 of their fourth-quarter points in the paint or at the free-throw line.
"We knew they have slow feet," Denver forward Kenneth Faried said, explaining how his team got inside on Wolves big men Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.
Lawson made four from the foul line in the final 24.6 seconds to help preserve the victory. He also provided his team's pulse with his ability to push the ball and get wherever he wanted.
Denver outscored the Wolves 60-46 in the paint, 20-15 in fast-break points and 25-17 off turnovers.
The Nuggets' bench, led by Nate Robinson's 15 points, outscored the Wolves' bench 47-10.
The Nuggets scored 117 points for the second time in less than two weeks against the Wolves. That is the most the Wolves have allowed this season.
"We knew we could score against this team," Faried said. "We wanted to lock in and play defense."
Denver (8-6) has won four consecutive games and seven of its last nine since that 1-4 start.
The Wolves (8-9) lost their third consecutive game, their sixth in the last eight and are under .500 for the first time this season.
"We're really starting to come together," Faried said. "We're learning each other and guys believe and trust in each other. We just really came together as team through our defense."
The Nuggets scored 64 points by halftime and had 90 by the end of the third quarter.
"Just really disappointed with our effort, the first half especially," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "We allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do. We have to figure out what we're going to do from this point forward. You can't defend like that. You can't have that energy level coming into a home game like that."
Denver held Minnesota's two Kevins -- Love and Martin -- to a combined 16-for-40 shooting. Martin scored 29. Love had a 19-point, 15-rebound double-double but needed 19 shots to get those points.
"He's going to get his shots," Nuggets power forward J.J. Hickson said. "But if it takes him 19 shots to score 19 points, I'll take it all day."
Love opened and closed a 10-0 run that turned a 103-92 deficit with 6:19 left into a one-point game with 3:57 left. But Hickson and Faried put the Wolves away by scoring inside on three consecutive dunks.
"You can say though we played that bad, we still gave ourselves a chance to win at the end," Love said. "But we (messed) that game up in the first quarter with the way we played."
NOTES: Newly acquired Wolves F Luc Mbah a Moute joined the team Wednesday, one day after the team finalized a trade that sent former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to Sacramento for him. Mbah a Moute underwent a physical exam in the morning and suited up for the game. Asked what he does best, he said, "Score 27 points and grab 18 rebounds a game like Kevin Love, you know? ... Everyone knows my calling card is playing defense and guarding elite scorers and talking to everybody. That's something this team could use. I'm hoping to bring that to the table, help defensively and hopefully make a better team." ... Mbah a Moute and Timberwolves star F Kevin Love played together during Love's one collegiate season at UCLA. "I thought I would never see that guy again," Mbah a Moute said, smiling. ... Forward Danilo Gallinari (torn ACL) and center JaVale McGree (tibia stress fracture) remain out for the Nuggets. Gallinari hasn't played all season and McGee missed his ninth consecutive game on Wednesday.

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