Minnesota Looks to Move to 2-0 Against Nuggets
The Timberwolves look to open with consecutive victories when they visit the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on Friday to begin a four-game road trip.
Minnesota (1-0) slumped to a 33-49 record last season - its worst in 10 years - and often had trouble closing games out in the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves reversed form in Wednesday's regular-season opener, outscoring Sacramento 28-17 in the final period to beat the Kings 92-83 at home.
``I like the way our guys closed the game out in the fourth quarter,'' Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. ``That was a bugaboo of ours last year.''
The Timberwolves have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, creating the possibility they may deal Kevin Garnett.
If Minnesota can keep playing like it did against Sacramento, it probably won't consider dealing the franchise cornerstone. Garnett had 24 points and 12 rebounds and the Timberwolves got a big boost off the bench from Troy Hudson, who had 15 points in 24 minutes.
Hudson, who played in only 36 games last season because of an ankle injury, made three of Minnesota's four 3-pointers.
``It's a new team, a new nucleus,'' Garnett said. ``Tonight we were aggressive in the fourth quarter. ... The fourth quarter is winning time.''
Minnesota hasn't won two in a row to begin a season since 2002-03. It was only 9-32 on the road last season, the team's worst mark away from home since 1995-96 when it also was 9-32.
The Timberwolves used to have little trouble with Denver, winning 12 of 14 from 2002-04, including a series win in the first round of the 2004 playoffs.
The Nuggets (0-1), though, have turned the series around lately, winning four of the last five.
Denver will play its home opener after losing 96-95 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
Without star Carmelo Anthony - who was ejected in the third quarter after getting two technical fouls - the Nuggets were unable to hold onto a 10-point fourth quarter lead and lost their season opener for the third straight year.
Anthony was ejected early in the second half for arguing foul calls, part of the NBA's new emphasis on eliminating complaining to the referees.
J.R. Smith, playing his first game for Denver, led the team with 21 points while Marcus Camby had 16 points and 18 rebounds.
``We could have done it. We lost 'Melo, but we were still in the game. It hurt us not having him in there,'' Denver's Kenyon Martin said.
Denver, which was 26-15 at the Pepsi Center last season, has four days off until its next home game on Wednesday against the New York Knicks.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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