MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kenneth Faried had 18 points and 14 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets win their second straight since firing coach Brian Shaw, 100-85 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Will Barton scored 17 points off the bench and the Nuggets outscored Minnesota 52-28 in the paint to make interim coach Melvin Hunt 2-0 since taking over for Shaw. The Nuggets have won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 14.
Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who delivered their first lackluster effort since acquiring Kevin Garnett in a trade from Brooklyn two weeks ago. They shot just 39 percent and shot 3 of 18 on 3-pointers in losing their fourth straight game.
Playing with a sense of urgency for the first time in weeks, the Nuggets beat the Wolves up and down the floor and were the aggressors throughout the night. They had 19 fast-break points to Minnesota’s zero, and Danilo Gallinari added 16 points.
Jameer Nelson had 12 points and nine assists, helping the Nuggets overcome an 0-for-9 night from starting point guard Ty Lawson.
Ricky Rubio had 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting and 10 assists for the Timberwolves (13-47). Kevin Martin scored just nine points on 3-for-15 shooting after missing the game Monday with an illness, and Nikola Pekovic had six points and five rebounds in 15 minutes after sitting out Monday with a sore right ankle.
In what has been a miserable season, the Nuggets fired Shaw on Tuesday. The team responded with a decisive win over Milwaukee at home that night and racked up 60 points in the first half with some inspired effort on the glass against the improving Timberwolves.
A 24-5 run spanning the first and second quarters — keyed by bench players Darrell Arthur and Will Barton — got them rolling. The Nuggets outrebounded Minnesota 22-7 in the second quarter and nine of those rebounds came on the offensive end.
The Timberwolves looked like the team playing the second night of a back-to-back, shooting 4 for 19 in the second quarter to fall behind by 61-43 at the break.
Minnesota cut the lead to 10 early in the third quarter, but Barton and Nelson started the fourth with an 8-0 run to end all doubt.
Nuggets: Lawson finished with nine assists and seven rebounds, but was held scoreless for the first time since Dec. 13, 2013, against Utah. … The Nuggets entered the night with the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the league. But they made seven of their first 13 from deep and finished 8 for 20.
Timberwolves: Wiggins was named Western Conference rookie of the month for February and has opened the season by winning the award in all four months. … Gary Neal had 13 points off the bench. … Garnett had 11 points and six rebounds.
Nuggets: at San Antonio on Friday.
Timberwolves: host Portland on Saturday.
This article was written by Jon Krawczynski from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.