Billups leads Nuggets past Wolves

Associated Press

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets keep finding ways to win while the Minnesota Timberwolves keep finding ways to lose.

Chauncey Billups scored 26 points, J.R. Smith had eight of his 14 points in a decisive fourth-quarter stretch and the Nuggets overcame poor shooting to hand Minnesota its eighth straight loss, 90-84 on Sunday night.

"We’ve been close almost every night," Minnesota rookie Kevin Love said. "We’ve had five losses of under six points. It is tough. It’s time to get a win."

The Timberwolves led by as many as nine but couldn’t close out the Nuggets, who won despite shooting 33.7 percent from the floor.


"It’s tough. It’s just tough," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "We have to make sure we give ourselves a chance to win the games at the end. We’ve done that. We can’t lose focus of our play through three-and-a-half quarters."

Things looked good midway through the fourth quarter when the Nuggets’ go-to guys were suffering through poor shooting nights. Billups and Carmelo Anthony were a combined 11-for-40 from the field, but they both hit big baskets in the final 5 minutes.

"I don’t know how many games in the league are won by 33-percent shooting," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

"Maybe less than five probably all season long."

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