Nuggets end Wolves' winning streak
By John Marshall
DENVER -- Voshon Lenard scored 15 points and hit a leaner with 11.2 seconds left as the Denver Nuggets ended the Minnesota Timberwolves' four-game winning streak with an 88-87 Thursday night.
Minnesota took an 87-83 lead after Anthony Peeler hit a pair of 3-pointers from the corner. Denver's George McCloud followed with three free throws with 34 seconds left after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
Minnesota's Chauncey Billups was then called for a backcourt violation after losing the ball, setting up Lenard's shot along the baseline. Peeler had a shot for the win, but was long from the corner.
Denver has won five of eight since a seven-game losing streak last month. Juwan Howard led the Nuggets with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
Kevin Garnett had 21 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Timberwolves. Wally Szczerbiak added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Denver had trouble after Minnesota switched to a zone defense midway through the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets managed just one free throw in a span of nearly four minutes before Howard hit a reverse layup to give the Nuggets an 81-79 lead with 2:12 left.
Garnett tied at 81 with a tip, then Peeler gave the Timberwolves an 84-81 lead with a 3-pointer from the corner. Howard hit two free throws on the other end with 59 seconds left, but Peeler hit another 3 from the same spot to put Minnesota back up by three.
Garnett and Szczerbiak were a combined 10-of-15 from the floor for 25 points in the first half, but were just 6-for-16 in the second.
The Nuggets finished the first half with a flourish.
Lenard had a steal off a rebound and hit a baseline jumper to get Denver within 47-44 with 5.4 seconds left. James Posey stole the inbounds pass and got the ball to Kenny Satterfield, who found Donnell Harvey along the baseline.
Harvey finished the play with a tomahawk dunk over Rasho Nesterovic with 0.9 seconds left, adding emphasis by hanging on the rim nearly upside down with one hand.
Denver had trouble matching up with the 7-foot Garnett early.
The Nuggets tried four players -- Calbert Cheaney, Posey, Ryan Bowen and Harvey -- on Garnett in the first half, but he shot right over the smaller players.
Denver tried double teams on Garnett, but he did a good job of kicking the ball out for open jump shots. Garnett had 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists by halftime.
Notes: Garnett has led the Timberwolves in scoring six of the last seven games. ... Minnesota is 8-4 against the Midwest Division on the road. ... Billups, a Denver native and former Nugget, received a warm ovation during the introductions. ... Denver's Mengke Bateer, who has shown a penchant for getting quick fouls, got whistled for one 11 seconds after entering in the second quarter.