This time everything was different.
The Timberwolves played at Denver on Tuesday night, just two days after handing a shorthanded Nuggets a 30-point loss.
This time the Wolves got Denver's "A" lineup and "A" game.
The result: A whipping from "A" to "Z".
Denver beat the Wolves 146-112 in a game that was over about the time the Nuggets (38-18) finished the first quarter on a 37-6 run to go up 30.
It was that bad.
And it was so different from the big win the Wolves got at home against Denver on Sunday, on a night when, citing load management, Denver didn't dress — heck, didn't even bring to town — Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon.
This time the Wolves got the NBA's best home team (26-4), which moved the ball magnificently, shared the scoring unselfishly and won ridiculously easily.
"We never got back into it," Wolves coach Chris Finch told reporters after the game. "Down 30. We were down 30 the whole game."
Well, not quite.
The Wolves started the second quarter with a 17-8 run to pull within 21 on Naz Reid's basket midway through the quarter. But Denver responded with a 22-12 run to end the half, going up 31.
"We didn't play with a lot of physicality," Finch said. "Just wasn't there early. Bunch of bad turnovers to start the game, and transition was a disaster. And then, shot-making. They got hot and it was over.''
Here's a rundown of just how one-sided it was:
Denver set marks for a Wolves opponent this season in points scored in the first quarter (49), the first half (79), game (146) and shooting percentage (.624). The Nuggets' 44 assists on 58 shots made — they had 16 assists in the first quarter — were the most in the league this season.
With Murray still sitting, the rest of the Denver starters were incredibly efficient. Jokic (20 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds) had his 19th triple-double of the season by halftime. Michael Porter Jr. had 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting, Aaron Gordon 24 on 8-for-11 shooting. Porter Jr., Jokic and Gordon outscored Minnesota's starting frontcourt 74-15.
Anthony Edwards led Minnesota starters with 19 points, Reid had 11 and D'Angelo Russell 10. Luka Garza (19), Matt Ryan (11) and Josh Minott (11) were in double figures from the bench.
And that bench got a lot of playing time.
With about 8:30 left in the third quarter, with another game in Utah on Wednesday, Finch emptied the bench. Seconds later Russell picked up two technical fouls from the bench and was ejected.
"We got a game [Wednesday]," Finch said about his decision to clear the bench with 20 minutes left in the game. "We weren't getting anywhere. The score was going the wrong way. We weren't cutting into the lead. It was the responsible thing to do.''
Taking advantage of the opportunity, the Wolves bench finished with 68 points.
Denver made 13 of 27 three-pointers (48.1%), scored 23 points off Wolves turnovers and had 22 points on the break.
"They kicked our butt in every way you can," Finch said.
The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.