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On the Wolves

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Postgame: Wolves win in crunch time again

Don’t look now, but the Timberwolves are on something of a hot streak.

They’ve won two straight and five of their last seven games overall and for the fourth straight at home. For the second straight game the Wolves won a game decided by four or fewer points. This after going 0-for-10 to start the season in that category.

“We’re trying to establish a home court,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We want to make it tough for people to come in here. We have to understand, you don’t win because you’re at home, but because of what you put into winning.’’

They did tonight. Denver shot 51.2 percent for the game, but 45.5 percent in the second half, 40.0 percent in the fourth quarter, and just 3-for-12 after taking a nine-point lead with 6:06 left in the game.

The Wolves responded with a 20-8 run.

The Wolves have now won four straight home games since the fall of 2012.

Here are some thoughts on the game:

--Starting in place of Ricky Rubio, who was away because of personal reasons, rookie Kris Dunn had 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting, nine assists, eight rebounds, three steals and a block. He was very effective defensively after Thibodeau put he and Tyus Jones together in the backcourt down the stretch for a second straight game.

-Jones, too, was effective. Certainly more late than early. He finished with nine points and four assists off the bench in 19:20 of playing time. He played all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, was a plus-3 and scored six of those points, one a very big three-pointer.

--Towns seemed to really get motivated by his matchup with Nikola Jokic, another young center with a myriad of skills. Towns had 32 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks to 18 points and eight rebounds for Jokic.

--Andrew Wiggins was again big down the stretch, scoring 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, with three rebounds and a steal.

--Zach LaVine continues to struggle since returning from a hip injury that kept him out of two games. He had four points on 2-for-8 shooting missed all three three-pointers and watched the final 5:40 from the bench when Thibodeau put Dunn in for him.

Nuggets without Mudiay vs. Wolves tonight

The Denver Nuggets – who beat up on the Clippers in Denver Saturday – will be without starting guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who is suffering from low back pain. Mudiay started Saturday’s game, but had to leave, and he ruled himself out of tonight’s game shortly after Saturday’s game ended.

Here is the rest of the Denver injury report:

Danilo Gallinari (right ankle) is probable. Darrell Arthur (left knee soreness) is questionable. Gary Harris (right ankle sprain) is questionable.

Both Gallinari and Arthur played last night.

Without Mudiay, that will mean a lot more of veteran Jameer Nelson, who had eight assists and six points in Saturday’s win. “He’s experienced,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s a terrific pick-and-roll player. He can shoot the ball. So he adds that. He’s tough. A really good competitor. I think you also look at the way they run their offense, with (Nikola) Jokic, he can function as their point guard as well. As a team they’re very unselfish, they share the ball with each other, they move it, they have a lot of guys who can go off the dribble. So it’s a highly-skilled team.’’

Here are some other notes from this morning’s shootaround:

--The Jokic vs. Karl-Anthony Towns matchup is another example of where the center position is going, in terms of skill level and the ability stretch the floor. Both can hit the three, both can move the ball, both can run the court.  For the 2013 All Star Game, at least in part because of a relative dearth of great center candidates, the league  rolled the center into a “frontcourt’’ designation. Perhaps, with all the good centers coming into the game, that should change back.

“Now, all of a sudden, there is an influx of centers,’’ he said. “So it’s good, good for the game, I think. Maybe they’ll re-examine it, look at it again.’’

--Last night Towns went to the Wild game, where he was given a Wild jersey with his name on it and was treated to Minnesota’s come-from-behind victory over Anaheim.

It was the first hockey game he’s ever been to.

About time?

“It was awesome,’’ Towns said. “The atmosphere the Wild have over there at Xcel is amazing. That’s what we’re trying to bring here to Target Center.’’

--After starting the season 3-9 at Target Center, the Wild has gone 6-4 at home, including a three-game home winning streak entering tonight’s game. “That’s what we’re trying to do,’’ Zach LaVine said. “Change the culture, make sure you defend your home court.’’

TV Listings

Local Schedule

  • Wild at Dallas

    7:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Phoenix

    8 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Gophers men's basketball at Ohio State

    6 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • St. Louis at Wild

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Indiana at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Ohio State at Gophers women's basketball

    7 pm on 1500-AM

  • Minnesota Duluth at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm

  • Maryland at Gophers men's basketball

    1 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    3:07 pm

  • Brooklyn at Timberwolves

    8 pm on FSN, 830-AM

Today's Scoreboard

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