Nuggets at Wolves recap: Denver pulls out a win in Minnesota ... somehow

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I didn't think the Nuggets were going to win this one tonight. Down by as many as 17 points and fighting to keep leads late; Denver pulled off a big road win. Kevin Love burned the Nuggets for 34 points and 14 rebounds and I took an emotional run timeline style in this one ...


Final - 11.21.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Denver Nuggets 15 29 25 32 101
Minnesota Timberwolves 26 32 15 21 94

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Box Score

This game recap coming straight at you, timeline style! I am done cooking bacon and need to switch off this Spurs vs. Celtics game. I like watching the Spurs offense, but not a big fan of the C's announcers!

Game time!

And we find out that Kevin Love is going to go ahead and come back early and play tonight. I guess Andy jinxed us all again with his pregame talk about the Wolves being banged up. Andy is killing the Nuggets with his "Stiffs" predictions and voodoo talk. We may need to attack him.

Nuggets with usual starters. Wolves going with Ridnour, Malcolm Lee, Pek, Love, and AK-47. Is Kirilenko still rocking No. 47? I haven't noticed! He is! I feel like all things are right in the world.

1st Quarter:

-Danilo Gallinari bricks a three to start things for the Nuggets. Some things haven't changed - despite how much Jeff Morton wants you to believe they have! ha ha ha! Pek powers through Kosta Koufos for a nice little baby-hook: 2-0 Wolves. Love just bricked a three, hopefully he'll be rusty tonight ... knocking on wood! Love is now 0-2 with a pump fake from deep on Faried and step-in jumping drawing nothing but iron ... BRICK!

-I'm on DVR here and just a few minutes behind the game. It's 4-4 with 9:00 left in the first. I pulled up a box score to keep up with some in-game stats and see it's 21-10 Wolves, WTF happens? I guess I'll find out. Denver's energy is okay right now - guessing things may change here soon? Lots of bricks for the Nuggets from outside right now and Kevin Love collects his sixth point from the inside ... come on Faried!

-First guy off the bench with 6:40 to go is JaVale McGee ... Lawson ties it at 10-10 and is attacking the hoop. Scott Hastings lets us know that Ty had an "aggressive warmup" ... what does that mean? He was driving hard in the layup line? Staring down guys at the scorers' table? I'm pumped up! Jordan Hamilton is the second guy off the bench, has George Karl suddenly forgotten Andre Miller is on the team? Did Hamilton and Miller trick Karl? The plot thickens!

-Love bangs a three and it's 16-10 Wolves. Denver aka Faried has allowed Love to heat up by getting points near the bucket and rebounds ... now he has confidence outside. Love hits another shot, a jumper off the glass, it's 18-10 Wolves. Dammit. Nuggets not meeting the energy and team play of the home team. Looking sloppy for the Nuggets. Who can bring them back?

-Karl takes McGee out already ... about a two minute stint ... uh ... what's the point of that? Koufos has been getting killed inside as Love gets another tip-in ... Karl takes a timeout and Love asks the crowd to get on their feet. Well, this game officially sucks. After the timeout, Hamilton takes a running jumper at the foul line, fading away ... second possession is Koufos throwing a tear drop that lands a couple feet short of the rim and Koufos misses an alley-oop on the third possession as he tries to lay it in - not a great pass as Kouf doesn't get as high as McGee, needs to jump come down with it and go up quick for a dunk.

-Wolves play Patriots tonight as J.J. Barea checks in - Love, Pek, Barea all were questionable for the game ... all are playing. Just Denver's luck! Barea hits a three at the buzzer to give Minny a 26-15 lead.

-26-15 Wolves. Wowzah ... where have the high scoring Nuggets gone? Will be hard to get to 100 points once again. Can Denver win a slowed down game? Oh yeah, the Wolves are not slowing down! Minnesota outscores Denver 16-10 in the paint in the quarter.

2nd Quarter:

-Hamilton is still in ... he gets fouled, hits a free throw, misses the second, gets the rebound, and hits a three from Andre Miller. 26-22 Wolves, but a wacky 4-point play. Barea hits a three on the other end, wide open on his third look and he has now made two of them ... maybe cover him? Maybe? 29-22 Wolves.

-If Denver is able to fight back into this game - it will be interesting to see if Karl goes small late and if the Wolves use Pek and Love ... they will KILL Denver on the boards if so, hope I'm wrong on the rebounding aspect and Karl going small ... but first things first ... Nuggets need to get back into the game. Koufos with 6 points off that last tip-in and it's 35-28 Wolves. Denver getting back into it thanks to aggression by Hamilton (and willingness to shoot when open!), and rebounding by Koufos and Gallo. Another goaltend by Dante Cunningham (Grizzlies tip-in last year) and it's 35-32 Wolves off that Iguodala layup.

-Denver started 7-22 and they are now 6-11 ... thank goodness. Now if the defense (Lawson) will stay with shooters, they'll be in business. Josh Howard bangs in a three and it's 40-32 and a 5-0 run by Minny after a timeout ... Nuggets need to re-focus. Gallo hits a little bunny on the other end, Shved hits a three ... he was wide open - the Nuggets still daring NBA quality players to hit open shots, no problem for them.

-With 3:26 to go in the 2nd the Nuggets will go small with Gallo and Faried on Pek and Love ... we'll see if anything comes of it. Pek goes right through Gallo for a layup, 49-36 Wolves. Turnover by Denver as Lawson can't find Brewer. Ridnour with an open three ... STOP GIVING UP OPEN THREES!!!!!! GAAAHHHH!!!!!! Lawson left his man to give Luke that open look. Why double-down on a guy driving towards the free throw line to give up an open look? Makes zero sense. 52-38 Wolves and the hopes of even staying competitive are starting to drift away ... boo. Love hits another open three with a step back move ... 58-41 ... unreal.

-58-44 Wolves at the half. The Nuggets defense system is not good. They system gives the opposition too many open looks. Lip service has been paid to perimeter defense, but the team is either not following orders or being expected to do other things that lead to open looks ... like double teaming guys driving to the hoop. Not liking this first half at all ... finally "live" on DVR for the second half ... probably going to wish I could fast forward it. I'm not counting on a win in this one. Feels like a game where Denver will battle back a bit and then run out of gas. Sort of like those first two games of the season, especially the Orlando game, not good.

At the half ...

Flipping over to catch a little Knicks vs. Mavericks - Go Mavs Go? No! Go Knicks, beat a Western Conference team! With the Nuggets playing average ball right now, they'll need lots of losses by other squads ...

The Wolves are 7-14 from long range. A ton of good and open looks for them. NBA teams can hit open shots. When will the Nuggets address this daring philosophy of giving shooters open looks? The Nuggets are 3-9 from deep. So it's 21-9 Wolves from downtown. Each team has 6 offensive boards - 19 defensive for Minny and 16 for Denver. Denver has 7 turnovers and the Wolves have converted those to 14 points.

Love has 22 points and 8 rebounds on 9-16 shooting (2-6 from deep and 2-6 at the foul line). No rust really because he's getting a lot of inside looks and he can make bunnies and lay-ins. Hamilton leads the Nuggets with 9 points (4 rebounds), but is shooting just 2-6 (3-4 from the foul line) and Koufos has a team high 8 rebounds.

3rd Quarter:

-Here we go ... Gallo with a big board to start things. Iggy (don't call me Iggy) hits a three and it's 58-47. Pek goes right through Koufos for a layup. Denver can't afford to trade baskets this half (Captain Obvious alert!). Faried with two quick turnovers ... Denver can't afford turnoves this half, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS IS IN THE FREAKIN' HOUSE! Gallo nails a three, Jeff Morton was right! 60-50 Wolves. Iguodala with one of his classic turnovers of over-dribbling ... could have cut it to 8 points there.

-Koufos with a great block on a Love open-court layup, Love pushes Koufos down and is called for a foul, I think? A technical actually. Gallo hits the shot ... BALL DON'T LIE! Love talking trash to Koufos and Kosta firing right back! Faried gets the jump ball tap win, Gallo with a jumper and it's 60-53 Wolves. Pek gets blocked one the other end, the crowd complaining loudly, Lawson gets a foul called for him on the other end and the crowd erupts in anger, and Ridnour gets hit with a technical. Game getting a little touchy, expect some heavy whistles for a few minutes ... dammit! Let them play! Wolves getting super frustrated. Timeout called and the Nuggets could cut this thing down to four points ... need to come out strong. Denver hits 2-3 of the foul shots as Lawson misses the last one ... 60-55 Wolves.

-FARIED WITH A NASTY ANDRE MILLER-ESQUE BLOCK ON A MALCOLM LEE DUNK ATTEMPT! Wolves get a foul call as they grab offensive rebound ... Lee misses the first free throw and bricks the second too! Still 60-55 Denver. Nuggets use an 11-0 run to close the game on the Wolves. Trading baskets and it's 65-61 Wolves. Looking better for Denver, the second unit better take notice and BRING SOME ENERGY AND EFFORT!

-HOLY SHIT! Iguodala just brought the home crowd to a collective, "Aww" with his jam in AK-47's face! It's tied up 67-67!

-First lead for Denver 69-68 on a classic Miller to McGee alley-oop. Two missed dunks in a row, one by AK47 and one by McGee ... Wolves hit another effing three ... an open three as the Nuggets double and never rotated back to their man ... that was on Hamilton I believe. Dammit. 71-69 Wolves. McGee misses a hook shot, bad set up ... Love with a dunk and it's quickly back to four for the Wolves at 73-69. Shit. Gallo bricks a jumper. Wolves will get the last shot once again ... all three quarters so far ... they miss and open three, an open jumper, and a tip-in attempt ...

-73-69 Wolves. The Nuggets flip the first quarter with the third as they out-score Minny 25-15 (was 26-15 Wolves in the first). Need a BIG TIME FOURTH QUARTER. Love should be a little gassed, but he's a gamer (and a whiner).

4th Quarter:

-Nuggets get a quick three point lead on a Hamilton deep three at 78-75, Wolves answer with a three and then get a turnover and get a dunk ... Nuggets just too sloppy tonight. Can't make the little plays. Probably going to cost them this game. It's 80-78 Wolves as Denver can't hold any momentum. Back to 80-80 ... can the Nuggets find the momentum for an extended period?

-Lawson hits two free throws, Lawson hits two free throws! 82-80 Nuggets. Refs tightening things up after letting lets get a little loose. Barea and Lawson battling each other with a little phyicality. Foul called on Amundson as Faried grabs a defensive rebound. Love and AK-47 in for the final 6:17 ... Nuggets still have Gallo on the bench and Iggy at PF. It's 84-80 Nuggets ... finally a two possession game for Denver. Bad bounces for the Nuggets on one Wolves possession and they get a bucket. Hard to get a handle on this game for Karl and Co. Barea with ANOTHER OPEN FREAKING THREE!!!!!!!! Seriously? 85-84 Wolves. The Nuggets do not deserve to win this game, nor do the Wolves really ... can they tie?

-Gallo is back with 4:43 to go ... Jeff calling it, "Gallo time" on Twitter. Miller gets a bucket and a foul called ... gets the free throw to fall. It's 87-85 Nuggets.

-Playoff type intensity tonight. Calls making players erupt. Gallo with a big tip rebound to Faried over Love ... craziness erupting as Denver is somehow up 96-90. Faried fouls out and gives Wolves two freebies ... 96-92.

-Lawson in position to ice the game ... he misses the first (now 3-5 on the night) and he sinks the second one to make it 97-92 Nuggets (he's 4-6 on the night from the foul line).

-Andre Miller's turn to help ice it ... 97-94 Nuggets as he steps to the line. Miller goes 2-2 from the stripe, 99-94 Nuggets. This is looking like a good, bad win. Or a bad, good win? Something ...

Game Recap: 101-94 NUGGETS.

Crazy game. Crazy freaking game. I sound like a fool above as my "doom-and-gloom" approach comes through once again and gets the Nuggets a win. This one is all on me, you guys and gals! A giant 23-9 run by the Nuggets in the second half got them back in the game and tough defense and rebounding helped win it for them late.

The Wolves went 10-28 from deep tonight and were just 3-14 in the second half from deep. The Nuggets were 9-21 from deep on the night and 6-12 in the second half. The Wolves out-rebounded the Nuggets in the offensive rebounding department 17-14 (Wolves got 11 in the second half to Denver's 8). The big difference tonight was Denver's free throw shooting (22-26 or 84.6%) as Gallo went 6-6, Lawson 6-8, Miller 3-4, and Hamilton 3-4 to lead the team. It was nice to see Denver attacking and rewarding themselves with makes.

And something else I noticed tonight, Denver wasn't hesitating in the second half on shooting the ball off the dribble-drive. That was awesome to see and Lawson sank a killer three late and didn't hesitate to pull the trigger as the defender tried to close in on him. Ty was only 2-5 from deep, but he was looking a lot more confident this evening.

The Wolves looked great in the first half tonight and they did an excellent job quieting the Nuggets' runs or pouring Pepto on them. Love was a monster in his first game of the season, shades back to Andrew Bynum killing Denver in his first game last season (29 points and 13 rebounds in a Lakers 92-89 win on 12/31/11). Love finished with 34 points and 14 rebounds (12 points and 6 rebounds in the second half). He was a pest on the glass and helped render Faried human on the offensive glass tonight with only 3 of his 14 rebounds coming on the offensive end (and just 4 points).

Pretty nice offensive games by plenty of Nuggets. Hamilton led the team with 9 points in the first half and finished with 12 points. Gallo led the team with 19 points and Lawson and Iggy got 18 of their own. Miller put in 11 points and the Nuggets big men had rough nights. Koufos and McGee combined for 12 points and 9 rebounds in a combined 38 minutes.

Crazy game tonight. A good, bad win for the Nuggets.

***
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