The Nuggets are going to be playing 5-on-3 hockey and then some tonight at Target Center.

Carmelo Anthony is out for the fifth straight game following the death of his sister.

Nuggets bigs Nene (left knee), Kenyon Martin (left knee) and Al Harrington (thumb) all are out as well.

You can bet George Karl will go small -- he has to, no other options-- and try to run the Wolves out of the building. And look for either Chauncey Billups or J.R. Smith to go for 30 or 40.

Or both.

The last time these teams played, Kevin Love went for 43 and 17.

"But we didn't have Bird did we?" Karl asked as the Birdman, aka Chris Andersen, walked by.

No, they didn't in that Dec. 18 game at Denver, where the Nuggets won by a bucket.

Just don't tell Kevin Love to ball fake the big Birdman, Karl muttered under his breath.

On a different topic, Karl said the Nuggets inquired about Love last summer but obviously those discussions never went anyway.

He also said he never imagined Love would make the leap he did from last season to this season.

Those talks must have been in discussions about Carmelo Anthony, a move you know David Kahn likely would have made if he could have.

It would have been a HUGE gamble because there's no way Melo would have agreed to sign an extension here and Kahn likely would have traded several young pieces for a superstar who would have been on a one-season rental unless they could have convinced him otherwise.

That would have been a big, big if.

The Wolves, by the way, are going for their third consecutive victory tonight for the first time since they won four straight Jan. 29 to Feb. 6 last season (LA Clippers, New York, at Dallas, Memphis).



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Nuggets 119, Wolves 113 and other stuff