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Dong Secuya
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NBA -- Bitten by T-Wolves, Nuggets lose at home


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- J.J. Barea, the smallest Timberwolf at 6-feet, 175 pounds, provided the biggest plays when it mattered the most and his heroics propelled Minnessota past the Denver Nuggets, 101-97, Thursday night at the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver.

Barea came off the bench and had quite a meaningful 25-minute appearance, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds and five assists. The former Maverick, who left Dallas after winning a championship in 2011, drilled 6-of-10 field goals and two 3s. He scored the Wolves' last seven points, including a dagger 3 that gave Minnesota a 99-93 edge with 1:54 to go.

It was a huge bounce back win for the T-Wolves, who were slaughtered on the road by the Utah Jazz, 106-84, just 24 hours before facing Denver.

For the Nuggets, it was utter disappointment. They were 10-1 in their building entering Thursday night's tiff and they had the benefit of a full day's rest against a road weary Minnesota, which was on the second phase of a grueling back-to-back.

Already short-handed with point-guard Ricky Rubio sitting out back spasms, the Timberwolves lost Kevin Love in the third quarter due to an injured finger. He could have returned in the fourth quarter but coach Rick Adelman sidelined the 3-point shooting All-Star as a precaution.

Alexey Shved and Adrei Kirilenko stepped up big for the Wolves and combined for 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Point guard Luke Ridnour also had 17 for Minnesota which converted 37 of 83 field goals and 6-of-16 threes.

Ty Lawson and Kosta Koufos paced the Nuggets with 16 apiece while Andre Igoudala had 14 and six rebounds. Danilo Galinari had a quiet 12 points. Denver shot slightly better than the Wolves (40-of-86 field goals for 46.5 percent) but their effort was lacking.

And that didn't sit well with their head coach George Karl, who told NBA.com "there's always four, five, six games a year when you embarass yourself and tonight was one of those nights. The sense of urgency didn't come until the fourth quarter."

Minnesota improved to 15-14 in the standings while the Nuggets slid at 18-16. (HDS)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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