T-Wolves pin another loss on slumping Nuggets
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Nikola Pekovic posted 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves hung on for a 108-105 win over the Denver Nuggets.
Jose Juan Barea gave 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds while Andrei Kirilenko had 18 points for the Timberwolves, who have won four of their last five games.
"I'm just glad that we battled out this win tonight," said Minnesota forward Kevin Love. "You know, we grinded things out tonight and we're able to come out on top. It wasn't always pretty, but we did what we had to do."
Kenneth Faried had 26 points and 14 rebounds while Danilo Gallinari gave 24 points for the Nuggets, who have dropped six of their past nine games. Ty Lawson posted 17 points and 11 helpers.
"We played very poorly in the third quarter and that did us in," said Denver head coach George Karl. "They had the big moments and we took too many fouls. Along with all the turnovers, that did us in."
Minnesota had led by 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it was cut to five after consecutive 3-pointers from Corey Brewer and Gallinari made the score 101-96 with 1:25 to play.
Brewer followed with a dunk after Barea hit two free throws, and a steal by Faried led to another Brewer bucket for a 103-100 game with 38.2 seconds to play.
Following a Minnesota timeout, the Timberwolves committed a turnover on a 5- second inbound violation, but Lawson lost the ball on the ensuing possession and Kirilenko slammed it home with 21.2 seconds left.
Gallinari was fouled with 17.8 seconds left and made his two to bring Denver within 105-102, but Barea followed with two from the stripe with 14.8 seconds showing.
Brewer answered with another 3-ball to make it a 2-point game with 7.8 seconds to play, and Minnesota's Dante Cunningham was only able to make one of his two shots as 5.4 seconds remained on the clock.
Lawson then got down the court and put up a 3-point attempt, but it missed as time expired.
Denver held a 29-21 lead after 12 minutes, but Minnesota was able to close the gap in the second quarter and the half ended with the Timberwolves taking a 51-50 lead into the locker room.
The Timberwolves closed the third quarter with the final seven points to take a 77-70 lead into the fourth quarter, and held an 89-75 edge after Kirilenko's jumper with 7:41 to play.
Minnesota plays in New Orleans on Friday ... Denver, which went 2-3 on a five- game road trip, returns home to face Memphis on Friday ... Coming into the game, Denver had won 19 of 21 contests against Minnesota going back to the start of the 2007-08 season ... It was just the third time in 19 games this season that Minnesota eclipsed the 100-point mark ... Denver shot 50.6 percent, but committed 19 turnovers that led to 27 points for Minnesota ... The Timberwolves shot just 43.7 percent, including a 2-of-14 mark from behind the arc, but did make 30 of their 37 free throw attempts.
12/12 23:25:14 ET