Wolves pounce on undermanned Nuggets in blowout

Anthony Edwards scored 20 points, D’Angelo Russell added 18 points and 10 assists and the Minnesota Timberwolves led the short-handed Denver Nuggets wire-to-wire in a 128-98 rout Sunday in Minneapolis.

The Timberwolves capitalized on the Western Conference-leading Nuggets coming into Sunday’s contest – the second half of a weekend back-to-back for Denver – with Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon sitting out by building an 11-point lead through the first quarter.

That advantage quickly swelled thanks to a 13-3 Minnesota run to open the second quarter, and the host Timberwolves never looked back en route to their fourth win in the sixth and final date of a four-game homestand.

Minnesota ended the home stretch with wins against each of the first, second and third-place teams in the West, adding Sunday’s victory over Denver to previous defeats of Memphis and Sacramento.

Thirteen Timberwolves scored against the Nuggets, including Jordan McLaughlin with two points in his first appearance since Dec. 9. Jaylen Nowell scored 16 to lead the Minnesota reserves, Matt Ryan added 10, Taruean Prince notched nine and Nathan Knight chipped in eight.

Four of Minnesota’s five starters scored in double figures, with Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert joining Edwards and Russell with 14 and 16 points, respectively. The Timberwolves shot 48-of-87 from the floor (55.2 percent) compared to just 34-of-71 (47.9 percent) for the Nuggets.

Denver also committed 21 turnovers, which Minnesota turned into 32 points. The Timberwolves enjoyed a 72-42 advantage in points in the paint and scored on 33 assists compared to only 19 for the Nuggets.

Michael Porter Jr. led all Nuggets scorers with 22 points, while Christian Braun added 19. Bruce Brown scored 16 and both Ish Smith and Zeke Nnaji scored 10 off the bench.

The teams meet again on Tuesday in Denver.


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