NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 25th (All times eastern)
Denver Nuggets (26-22) at Minnesota Timberwolves (23-26), 3:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two teams desperately trying to stay in the Western Conference playoff picture will meet in the Twin Cities Sunday when the Minnesota Timberwolves play host to the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets have dominated Minnesota in recent seasons, winning seven straight in the series and 17 of 18 overall, including a 103-101 overtime win in the Rockies back on Feb. 20.
This is a much more competitive Timberwolves team, however. One that looked on the verge of a postseason berth until losing rookie star Ricky Rubio to a season-ending torn ACL.
Minnesota has dropped seven of nine, including five of seven on a recently completed 12-day road trip, the last of which was a devastating 149-140 double overtime loss to Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City.
All-Star Kevin Love netted a career-high and franchise-record 51 points to go along with 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves. J.J. Barea finished with 25 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double and Minnesota's first since 2007.
"Doesn't matter now with the loss. We needed this game," said Love about his career game. "There's still a lot of fight in us. We might be down but we're not out, if we can just continue to get better. We need to have more games like this."
Kevin Garnett previously held the Timberwolves' franchise record in points with 47
Minnesota is currently 3 1/2 games behind a host of teams fighting for the final postseason spots out West. One of the clubs is Denver, which is in a dead heat with Utah for the final two seeds, percentage points behind Memphis.
Starting center Nikola Pekovic (sore left ankle) and forward Michael Beasley (sprained left toe) sat out against OKC and both listed as questionable for today's contest.
The Nuggets have been alternating wins and losses over the past three weeks and the wheel pointed to "L" on Friday in Salt Lake City when the Jazz routed Denver 121-102.
Al Harrington paced the Nuggets with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while rising rookie Kenneth Faried contributed 16 points and eight boards as Denver continued to pay see-saw with wins and losses over its last nine games.
"I thought they outworked us more than outplayed us," Denver coach George Karl said. "In this stage of the season, understanding how important this game was, they seemed to have a better understanding than we did."
Denver's Arron Afflalo was ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant 2 foul after elbowing Gordon Hayward and was suspended by the NBA for today's contest.
03/25 11:00:20 ET