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Preview: Denver Nuggets look to get back on track against Timberwolves

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Denver hopes to keep the Wolves howling for a win

Denver playing feisty D a few nights ago
Denver playing feisty D a few nights ago
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Game 30: 2014-15 NBA Season
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(5-22, 2-11 away)
Series 0-0
(12-17, 8-6 home)
December 26th, 2014
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Zach LaVine
PG Ty Lawson
Andrew Wiggins
SG Arron Afflalo
Shabazz Muhammad
SF Wilson Chandler
Thaddeus Young
PF Kenneth Faried
Gorgui Dieng
C Timofey Mozgov
Notes
Canis Hoopus Blogs You're here!
Kevin Martin - out (wrist), Nikola Pekovic - out (wrist), Ricky Rubio - out (ankle) Injuries

JaVale McGee - out (leg), Randy Foye - out (quad), Danilo Gallinari - out (knee), Darrell Arthur - day-to-day (leg)

In their 25 previous seasons, the Timberwolves have had a winning record in only seven. Each of those seven came during Kevin Garnett's stay.
Etc... The Nuggets split their four games with the Timberwolves last season.

The Denver Nuggets return to the Pepsi Center after a three-day holiday break to face the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves, losers of their last six games, and twelve of their last thirteen.

This game is no "gimme" for Denver who has recently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their last two contests, both against Eastern teams (the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets) who were well below .500 themselves. To the positive, both losses were road contests, and the Nuggets had won their previous two home games, against the Los Angeles Clippers and Indiana Pacers. Hopefully the return home will spell a Nuggets victory against a Timberwolves squad with troubles of their own.

With injuries to their key three-point shooters, Minnesota struggles to find space on the offensive end of the floor. With their talented but young squad, the Wolves struggle on the defensive end of the floor as well, particularly against fast teams who drive to the hoop. It seems a recipe for a Nuggets win, but let's talk about a few keys that may help ensure it.

Get out of the gates

With the Wolves on-court struggles and youthful squad, it's important for the Nuggets to squash hope early. For rookies Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, this is a rough patch in their first view of a lengthy NBA season. As shown by the inspired play of the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this year, when they were threatening to eclipse the NBA record for season-opening losses, the Timberwolves are probably tired of losing and will play their hardest if the door of opportunity is left open too long.

Get consistent - or consistently better

The Nuggets need to rein in their lapses on-court. Whether a seven-minute meltdown against the Nets (great recap the other night, Dontae), or a game-long meltdown against a white-hot team, Denver has to find ways to at least not hemorrhage on court. Too harsh? Maybe not harsh enough. Charlotte's 3-point percentage was five points better than Denver's field goal percentage. The margins? For field goals, Charlotte shot 54% from the floor to Denver's 38%. Beyond the arc? Charlotte, 42%... Denver, 11%. Rough night. Streaky play has bedeviled this team all season, with many outlets noting the Nuggets propensity for being hot or cold altogether.

Get in the lanes

The Nuggets strength over the last few seasons has been in getting into the lanes and creating a little chaos via drives, dishes, and pick-and-rolls. That particular strategy has bedeviled the Timberwolves defense the better part of this season. Take advantage of your advantages, Denver. Make Minny prove they can stop your strength.

What do you see as key tonight, Nuggets Nation? Some key players on the sideline for a while. Where will the Nuggets find their sweet spots this evening?