NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 10th (All times eastern)
Denver Nuggets (42-21) at Minnesota Timberwolves (14-50), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Without their head coach patrolling the sidelines, the Denver Nuggets will start up a four-game road trip tonight against a Minnesota Timberwolves team hoping to end a string of six straight losses when it takes the Target Center court.
The Nuggets enter this late-season trek, which also includes stops in New Orleans, Memphis and Houston, with George Karl remaining in Denver to undergo treatment for neck and throat cancer. The accomplished head coach hopes to be back behind the bench when the Nuggets visit the Hornets on Friday.
Denver will also be without leading rebounder Kenyon Martin due to a bout with tendinitis in his left knee. The former No. 1 overall pick has sat out the team's last two contests with the condition, but the Nuggets didn't seem to miss a step in either game, backing up a 122-114 home victory over Indiana on Friday with Sunday's 118-106 decision over Portland at the Pepsi Center.
Carmelo Anthony led the way with 30 points against the Blazers and J.R. Smith added 22 for Denver, which shot a sizzling 58.9 percent from the field to cap a perfect three-game homestand. Chauncey Billups contributed 21 points to the winning effort.
"To beat a team like [Portland] with basically having an 8-to-10 point lead most of the night is a great win for us," said Karl afterward.
The win kept the Nuggets at the top of the Northwest Division, with Utah lurking just one game off the pace in second place. Denver also trails Southwest leader Dallas by only one game for the No. 2 playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Denver will also likely be without rookie point guard Ty Lawson for a fifth straight outing because of a bruised left shoulder, while assistant coach Adrian Dantley is expected to take over Karl's duties for tonight's tilt.
The Nuggets may not need their full complement of players to handle the lowly Timberwolves, who occupy the basement of the West with a 14-50 record and extended their current slide with Monday's 125-112 setback to Dallas.
"Too many turnovers against a great team like that," said Minnesota's Al Jefferson in reference to his club's 26 giveaways. "They feed off turnovers."
Jefferson was one bright spot for the Timberwolves, with the standout forward racking up 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting while pulling down 13 rebounds. He had sat out Minnesota's previous two games due to a suspension for a recent DUI arrest.
The Timberwolves continue a four-game homestand that began with Saturday's 112-98 loss to Houston. Minnesota has lost its last six tests as the host and is just 9-23 at the Target Center this season.
Denver has won 11 of the last 12 meetings between these teams, including two of three matchups held this season, and is 5-0 over its last five trips to Minneapolis.
03/10 10:40:04 ET