Wolves fall behind early, drop home loss to Denver
MINNEAPOLIS — A game against the suddenly defensive challenged Minnesota Timberwolves in the familiar confines of Target Center couldn’t have come at a better time for the slumping Randy Foye.
Foye scored 19 points, and the Denver Nuggets picked up their sixth win in seven games with a 112-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Kenneth Faried added 19 points and 10 rebounds, Will Barton had 14 points, seven boards and five assists, and the Nuggets (11-14) shot 56 percent against the porous Timberwolves defense. Foye broke out of a season-long slump to hit 5 of 6 3-pointers, and the Nuggets hit 10 of 18 from deep as a team.
"This is a shooter’s gym, just how the court is set up and usually how the seats are set up," said Foye, who played the first three seasons of his career in Minnesota. "That’s what it is for me, so I felt good from pregame warm-up and it just carried over into the game."
Zach LaVine had 20 points and five assists and Andrew Wiggins scored 23 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost seven of their last eight games. They are 3-10 at home this season.
"We’re not doing our job," said Ricky Rubio, who had 13 points, nine assists and four rebounds. "On defense we’re kind of lazy now and we’re losing games that we should be winning."
The Nuggets rallied from 18 down in the third quarter to beat the Timberwolves in Denver on Friday night, but needed no such effort in the second night of a back-to-back on Tuesday. They scored 18 points off of 10 Minnesota turnovers and outrebounded the Wolves 39-31 to cruise to the win.
The Nuggets played without rookie Emmanuel Mudiay, who was out with a sprained right ankle. Veteran Jameer Nelson started, but it was Foye who made the biggest impact with Denver’s second unit.
Foye, the former Timberwolves draft night acquisition, looked right at home back at Target Center. He scored 17 in the second quarter, easily surpassing his previous season high for points in a game (13). Foye had been shooting 29 percent on the season and 19.7 percent from 3-point range, but he hit his first five from deep against the Wolves.
His fifth 3 of the second quarter gave Denver a 58-41 lead, and the Nuggets were never threatened the rest of the way.
"We all knew as an organization that the Randy Foye that’s played in the first 20-some odd games isn’t the Randy Foye we’ve seen for eight years," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We knew at some point he’d break out of it. It couldn’t have happened on a better night."
The Timberwolves had a surprisingly feisty defense during their 8-8 start, helping them earn impressive victories at Atlanta, Chicago and Miami. But it’s been dreadful on that end during this swoon, with poor shooting teams like the Nuggets and Lakers feasting on wide open looks over and over again.
Minnesota surrendered an average of 109 points per game over its previous seven, which included losses to three struggling teams in the Blazers, Lakers and Nuggets, who racked up 63 points in the first half and were shooting 62 percent well past the midpoint of the third quarter.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 18 points and six rebounds for Minnesota.