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News » Nuggets-Timberwolves Preview

Nuggets-Timberwolves Preview

Nuggets-Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves have played surprisingly well against some good competition since ending their longest losing streak of the season. In a bid to win their first consecutive games of 2008-09, they won't have an easy task.

The Timberwolves try to avoid a seventh consecutive loss to the visiting Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

Mike Miller sank a 19-footer with 0.1 seconds left to give Minnesota (4-10) a 105-103 win at league-worst Oklahoma City on Friday. With the victory, the Timberwolves improved to 3-2 since an eight-game losing streak.

"Hopefully we can carry this over," said Miller, who finished with 18 points.

Maintaining the momentum could be tough against Denver (10-6), which has won six of its last eight games overall, including a 90-84 home victory over Minnesota on Nov. 16. The Nuggets have won six straight meetings in this series since falling 99-94 at Minnesota on Feb. 14, 2007.

Minnesota, though, has not played like a pushover since ending its eight-game skid, beating Philadelphia at home, Detroit on the road, and remaining competitive in losses to Boston and Phoenix.

The Timberwolves continue to struggle to put away close games. On Friday, they blew a nine-point lead to open the fourth quarter, but got strong play from Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Randy Foye down the stretch to put Miller in position for the winner.

"These are games that we've had throughout the course of the first month that we haven't been able to close out," coach Randy Wittman said. "I thought we persevered."

Craig Smith scored a season-high 23 points and Jefferson added 19 points and nine rebounds for the Minnesota, which shot 47.0 percent from the field overall and 8-for-14 from 3-point range. The Timberwolves are 4-0 when shooting at least 45 percent and 0-10 when they don't.

Jefferson, averaging 22.5 points and 10.1 rebounds, had 20 points and grabbed 14 boards in the loss at Denver earlier this month - their final defeat of the eight-game losing streak.

Despite shooting a season-low 33.7 percent in that contest, Denver rallied from a nine-point deficit with less than 7 minutes to play as J.R. Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 12-2 run.

Smith, who had 14 points in that contest, scored a season-high 32 in the Nuggets' 105-101 home loss to New Orleans on Thursday. Denver rallied from a seven-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, but James Posey's 3-pointer with 19.1 seconds left gave the Hornets the win.

"Even though it's a loss, I don't look at it as a step back," said Nuggets coach George Karl, whose team shot 50.7 percent from the floor. "It's a step forward. We fought hard."

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points, and is averaging 25.0 in his last three contests.

Anthony was held to 14 points in the last meeting with Minnesota, but also had 14 rebounds and is averaging 23.3 points in 21 career games versus the Timberwolves.

Chauncey Billups, averaging 17.1 points and 6.7 assists in 12 games since being traded to Denver from Detroit, had 26 points and five assists against Minnesota earlier this month.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2008


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