The Denver Nuggets come up short against the Minnesota Timberwolves 136-130. Despite Monte Morris scoring 23 points and shooting 4-5 from three in the 4th quarter, the T-Wolves just proved to be too much. Nikola Jokić lead all players with 38 points, 19 rebounds, and 8 assists. Karl Anthony-Towns scored 32 points and made four three-pointers to go with 9 rebounds. The Nuggets had 18 turnovers and shot 12-35 from three as a team.
With this loss, the Nuggets still stand in 6th place. If the Utah Jazz lose to the Golden State Warriors tomorrow, then the Nuggets will have another chance to jump them in the standings if Denver beats LA on Sunday. However, Minnesota is only 2 games back from the Nuggets now. The Nuggets need to treat every game like the playoffs from this point on.
The Nuggets score on their first 3 possessions but are stopped by the T-Wolves active hands-on defense. D’Angelo Russell connects on 2 three-pointers early on and the Wolves go on a 16-5 run. Denver had 3 turnovers in the first 4 minutes of the quarter. Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell combined for the Wolves first 23 points. In JaMychal Green’s first stint back from injury he dunked on KAT, he also finished a big alley-oop from Bones Hyland.
The Nuggets struggled from 3 in the first quarter and the Wolves did not, Denver shot 2-8 while Minnesota shot 6-11. Jokic checks out with 12 points without missing in the quarter. DeMarcus Cousins makes a 3 just before the buzzer and the Nuggets are down 40-35 after one.
Bones Hyland steals the ball and takes it coast to coast for a tough finish to kick things off. The Nuggets go cold for a bit and Boogie picks up 3 quick fouls and a tech, Jokic has to come back in sooner than he would normally. Nuggets gave up an 11-2 run to off start the second. The Nuggets continued their cold 3 point shooting, going 0-4 until the 7-minute mark.
The Nuggets close the Wolves lead down from 11 to 2 on the back of Nikola Jokic’s perfect 8-8 shooting. Jokic proceeds to get T’d up after missing 2 shots that he very well could’ve been fouled on. The Wolves go on a small run and go up by 7, but, Aaron Gordon throws down a massive alley-oop and then follows it up by throwing another dunk down.
Nuggets get back within 1 but go into halftime down by 5, 70-65 T-Wolves up.
Karl Anthony-Towns picks up his 4th foul early in the quarter but stays in the game. The T-Wolves go on a 9-2 run to start the second half. The refs give out the 3rd tech of the game, this time to D’Angelo Russell. Will Barton gets his first points on an and-1 after starting the game 1-7. Jeff Green attempts to draw a charge on Karl Anthony-Towns but it is called a blocking foul on the court, Coach Malone challenges the call and the refs confirm it.
Instead of KAT’s 5th foul, it’s Jeff Green’s 4th. The Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokic, went on a 16-4 run to tie it up following the challenge. Denver takes their first lead since the score was 9-7 at 87-86. Jokic checks out with the Nuggets up by two, up to the bench to keep it close until he can come back. The Wolves connected on two 3 pointers to end off the quarter and Denver is down by 4. 98-94 to start the 4th.
Karl Anthony-Towns hits his 4th three of the night after Green opens things off with a putback. After only a minute and 15 seconds on the bench, Jokic comes back in. In that time, the Wolves lead grew to 9 on a 13-2 run since Jokic checked out. The Nuggets struggled both on offense and defense to start the 4th. Denver gives up back-to-back turnovers on the first pass of the possession and the Wolves score on the break both times.
The Nuggets could not stop the Wolves down the stretch, mix that with struggling to score too and you have a 15 point T-Wolves lead. The Nuggets never gave up though, Monte Morris gave them 6 straight points and brought the lead down to 9. Morris hit another 3 to bring the lead down to 7. Anthony Edwards scored 13 points in the 4th quarter. The Nuggets were able to bring the lead down to 3 with 20 seconds remaining, but, Taurean Prince hit both his free throws to extend the lead to 5.
The Nuggets travel to sunny Los Angeles to take on the Lakers on Sunday the 3rd. The game starts at 1:30 MST and is on ABC, so people in Denver should be able to watch it on TV.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism