Timberwolves-Nuggets Preview

With their lineup finally back to full strength, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a chance to move above .500 for the first time in more than a month.

Doing that means securing a rare road win over the Denver Nuggets, who are hoping to have leading scorer Ty Lawson available.

The Timberwolves look to cap a successful road swing with their sixth win in seven games while dealing the Nuggets their sixth straight loss Monday night.

Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic played well in their returns Saturday, helping Minnesota (29-29) move to 3-1 on the five-game trip with a 108-97 victory over Sacramento.

After missing seven games due to a broken left thumb, Martin scored 26 points against his former club. He’ll try to build on that effort while facing Denver, which he’s scored a combined 56 points against in his two matchups this season.

"I remember getting hurt before and coming right back with good games, so this didn’t surprise me," said Martin, who missed a 117-90 home win over the Nuggets on Feb. 12.

Pekovic missed 13 games with a right foot injury before posting 20 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes Saturday. The veteran center had 21 points and 10 boards in a 117-110 home loss to Denver (25-33) before sitting out the last matchup.

Martin and Pekovic helped make up for a rare off night for Kevin Love, who had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists but went 4 of 12 from the field. The All-Star forward had averaged league highs of 34.0 points and 14.1 rebounds in February.

In last month’s win over the Nuggets, Love led the way with 32 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and six 3-pointers while former Denver forward Corey Brewer scored 22 and added five steals.

Love also recorded 28 points and 10 boards in a 117-113 loss in the last meeting in Denver on Nov. 15.

The Timberwolves, 10th in the Western Conference, will try to earn a split of this season series and move above the break-even mark for the first time since they were 23-22 on Jan. 29. However, they’ve gone 4-16 in their last 20 trips to Denver.

The Nuggets, though, have dropped four straight at home.

Denver could get Lawson back following a nine-game absence due to a left rib fracture. Lawson, scoring 18.0 per game, has averaged 22.7 while making 16 of 25 from 3-point range in his last six home meetings with the Timberwolves.

Without Lawson on Saturday, Kenneth Faried, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier had 16 points apiece but Denver lost for the 10th time in 11 games, 102-96 at Portland.

”The effort was there and it was something to build off of because everybody – the whole city of Denver – after that loss to Brooklyn had a sour taste in our mouth,” said Foye, a former Minnesota guard, of Thursday’s 112-89 home defeat.

After hurting his right knee Saturday on a hard fall with less than two minutes left, Faried could be sidelined.

The Nuggets rank near the bottom of the league with 104.7 points allowed per game, and they’ve given up an average of 110.4 while dropping 16 of 22.

That doesn’t bode well against a Minnesota team that has scored 109.5 points per game during a 5-1 stretch. The Timberwolves have also averaged 113.3 in the three meetings with Denver this season.