You can quibble with how the Timberwolves got there Monday after a 132-128 victory at Denver that just never would end, but there’s no mistaking they completed the season’s longest road trip with a 4-1 record. With six weeks left in the season and their margin of error to reach a distant playoff spot so slim, the difference between 4-1 and 3-2 on a trip that started nine days earlier in Utah means everything in the world. “Huge difference,” Wolves forward Corey Brewer said. “We couldn’t lose tonight. If we lost tonight, it’d be tough. Every game counts from now on for us to get in the playoffs.” The Wolves have won six of their past seven games. Monday’s victory moved them back over .500 at 30-29 for the first time since they beat New Orleans at home on Jan. 29. They won Monday by once again scoring 40 first-quarter points that helped them build a 23-point, third-quarter lead. Then they held on tight until the very end against a Nuggets team that made four three-pointers in the final 23 seconds and chopped a nine-point deficit down to just 130-128 with 5.7 seconds to go. Before it was over, the Wolves set franchise records for free throws attempted with 64 and made with 52. They outscored the Nuggets 52-16 at the free-throw line. Denver welcomed back star guard Ty Lawson after nine games out because of broken rib. Lawson scored 29 of his 31 points in the second half before he and Randy Foye both fouled out. The Wolves started the game by outscoring Denver 40-25 in the first quarter — their third time with 40 this season and the 10th time in franchise history — and finished it by scoring 45 points in the fourth quarter. They shot 26 free throws in the fourth quarter alone when the Nuggets were forced to foul repeatedly. Wolves guard Kevin Martin shot 10 of those himself, and he made each one to keep the Nuggets just far enough away. He scored 22 points, 16 on free throws. “I’ve never seen something like that, where a team hit that many shots at the end of the game,” Wolves star Kevin Love said after delivering a 33-point, 19-rebound performance. “It was a wild finish, to say the least. It had to be some kind of record. … I kept walking to the bench like, ‘This is crazy.’ I really didn’t have any words for it.
Wolves' clinic at the line finishes off Nuggets
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Mar 4