Nuggets rout Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS — The most telling moment of Denver’s easy victory Sunday night came at the end of the third quarter when Chauncey Billups recorded his first dunk of the season and was mobbed by his giddy Nuggets teammates at halfcourt.

Everything seems to be going right these days for the Nuggets, who are playing focused and putting themselves in position to do some damage in the playoffs.

Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and Denver cruised to its seventh win in a row, beating the Timberwolves 110-87 on Sunday night. Thanks to San Antonio’s loss to Cleveland earlier in the day, Denver quietly extended its lead to two games over the Spurs for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

“We just wanted to come out here tonight and pretty much take care of business, not sleep on a team like the Wolves,” Anthony said.

With Minnesota missing four of its top six scorers, the Nuggets could have easily taken a victory for granted. Instead, they zapped Minnesota’s energy early with intense defense and zipped the ball around well on offense, finding cutting teammates and shooting 53 percent from the floor.

“We played both ends of the court at a high level,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “We had different players offensively get hot.”

The game was essentially over by halftime, and it was a laugher by the fourth quarter with Anthony Carter lobbing alley-oop attempts to Sonny Weems. Anthony, who has scored at least 20 points in nine of his last 10 games, sat out the fourth.

“We tightened up, buckled down and the defense was great,” Billups said. “A lot of players played well. It was good.”

Sebastian Telfair had 18 points to lead the depleted Wolves. Already without regulars Randy Foye (hip) and Craig Smith (calf), Minnesota also had to make do without star rookie Kevin Love and his strong inside presence thanks to a nasty flu bug.

Minnesota looked nothing like the team that stunned Utah on Friday night.

“It’s no excuse,” Telfair said. “We just went into Utah and beat Utah. … There’s no giving up here, but guys probably could have played a lot harder tonight, especially at home.”

The Wolves shot 41 percent, but went to the line only 11 times while Denver hit 20 of 31 free throws and 10 3-pointers.

Billups added 17 points and seven assists for the Nuggets, who led by as many as 32 and have beaten the Timberwolves nine straight times.

His dunk came on a fast break after a turnover.

“My kids were talking stuff to me because they didn’t think I could dunk no more,” the former Wolves guard said. “I hope my little girl’s watching this game right now because if not, she may not see it again.”

The patchwork Wolves were scrappy early, but simply overmatched. Minnesota built an early eight-point lead but the Nuggets pulled off a seemingly effortless 25-5 run spanning the first and second quarters, and the Wolves never recovered.

Minnesota pulled within six twice in the first half, but the Nuggets responded each time and built a 20-point halftime lead.

“They just put it on us pretty good all night long,” Wolves coach Kevin McHale said. “We didn’t have too much we could do about it.”

Notes: Denver is 29-6 against sub-.500 teams. … Nuggets F Kenyon Martin missed his second straight game with a left rib cartilage strain. … McHale said Smith is close to returning from a strained right calf. Smith and Foye missed their fourth straight games. … Minnesota hasn’t beaten Denver since Feb. 14, 2007.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III celebrates after scoring against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Grading the Seahawks in their 37-27 win over the Panthers

Seattle turns in a solid all-around performance in front of the 2013 Super Bowl winners.

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Seahawks set to host Panthers, honor past while focused on present

Seattle will honor the 10-year anniversary of its only Super Bowl championship during Sunday’s game.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Saturday, Sept. 23

Also, Friday’s non-football prep results.

Most Read