Poor third quarter dooms Wolves in 103-101 loss to Denver
Remember all those good vibes that accompanied the big Timberwolves trade not too long ago? After sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless, the Wolves opened a five-game homestand with three victories.
It was nice while it lasted.
A six-point Wolves halftime lead dissolved over a third-quarter long slump that included missed shots, turnovers and lax defense.
The Wolves bench attempted a spirited fourth-quarter comeback, but it fell short in a 103-101 loss to the Nuggets, putting the Wolves at 3-2 on the homestand and 7-11 overall.
Paul Millsap scored 25 points on 11-for-12 shooting to lead the Nuggets (11-7), who broke a two-game losing streak. That including a baseline shot over Karl-Anthony Towns with 1:32 left that put the Nuggets up 103-101 and iced the game.
Gary Harris (17) and Jamal Murray (18) combined for 33 points.
Derrick Rose came off the bench to score 20. Towns had 22 and eight rebounds. Covington scored 16 and Wiggins had 13. Saric scored 12.
The Wolves were down 13 in the fourth when a lineup of mainly reserves made a run.
It started with two free throws by Rose. Then Tyus Jones took a pass from Saric and scored, forcing a Denver time out. Out of that break Gorgui Dieng stole a pass to Jokic. Rose then hit Saric for what turned into a three-point play. After a Nuggets turnover, Rose calmly hit a trey from top of the key.
At the other end Dieng blocked Monte Harris, leading to Sarics basket with 7:02 left and another Denver time out with a 13-point lead cut to 89-88.
But the Wolves went three possessions without a point, and Harris three-pointer with 4:55 left put the Nuggets up four.
Out of a time out Rose hit a three-pointer, but Harris answered with a drive. Rose missed a three, but Jokic hit one at the other end, and the lead was back to six.
The Wolves had a six-point halftime lead, but it didnt last long.
With the Wolves going 0-for-5 with four turnovers to start the second half, the Nuggets opened the third on a 12-3 run to take a 62-59 lead; Wigginss three-pointer nearly 5 minutes into the quarter were the Wolves first points.
The Nuggets had runs of 12-3 to start the quarter and another 13-2 run late, growing their lead to as many as 13 on Murrays three-pointer with just over 2 minutes left in the quarter. The Nuggets shot 14-for-24 in the quarter 6-for-11 on three-pointers to take an 85-74 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Nuggets out scored the Wolves 35-18 in the quarter.