DENVER – Winners now 28 times in 31 home games this season, the Denver Nuggets’ 111-88 victory at Pepsi Center both extended their overall winning streak to seven games Saturday night and guaranteed the Timberwolves wouldn’t be the only repeat winners there this season.
The Wolves beat the Nuggets there two months ago on the same night Kevin Love broke his hand for the second time this season. Only the Wolves, defending champion Miami and Washington have won this season in Denver.
On Saturday, Nuggets guard Ty Lawson once again reminded Timberwolves Nation of its team’s failed draft history with another impressive performance — 32 points, made every one of the four three-pointers he attempted — in a month-long stretch that coincides (and then some) with his team’s seven-game winning streak.
“He’s a tough matchup, especially when he’s hitting his shots, especially when he’s hitting from deep,” Wolves forward Derrick Williams said. “I’m not sure how many threes he had, but whenever you have a guy hitting threes like that it’s tough. And I don’t think he played the last five minutes or so. He could have had 40.”
The player whom the Wolves drafted 18th overall for Denver in a pre-arranged trade on draft night 2009 has pushed the Nuggets to a 42-22 record. On Saturday, he had nine points at halftime and still finished with his 32 that included 14 alone in just six-plus fourth-quarter minutes.
“They got it going the second half and it was all over,” said Wolves coach Rick Adelman, whose team trailed by a point at halftime and by 17 before the third quarter was through after Denver used a 14-2 run to pull away.
Saturday’s game kicked off a stretch where the Wolves play four sets of back-to-back games in the next 13. That first set ends Sunday against Dallas at Target Center.
Adelman is hopeful Love returns from his broken hand — and perhaps Chase Budinger returns from knee surgery — sometime in that time.
“We’ll probably get everybody back at the same time and then we’ll have problems with minutes,” Adelman said dryly.
Campaigning for Corey
Former Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer has found a home — and a role — in Denver.
And Nuggets coach George Karl suggested before Saturday’s game that a guy he uses off the bench for his energy and defensive disruption should get some consideration for Sixth Man of the Year. Brewer scored 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting in 25 minutes Saturday.
“He’s had a great year,” Karl said. “He’s going to get some votes from some people.”
The Wolves didn’t hold their usual morning shootaround on Saturday, partly because they have just nine healthy players and partly because it’s that time of year. The teams played each other for the final time this season on Saturday.
“I just feel better giving them their rest, get ready for the game,” Adelman said. “It’s the fourth time we’ve played there. There are no secrets. We know what they’re going to do: They’re going to come at you in waves and attack the basket.”