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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 8th (All times eastern)

Denver Nuggets (43-31) at Minnesota Timberwolves (40-35), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Timberwolves attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive, as they host the streaking Denver Nuggets tonight at the Target Center.

The Timberwolves are 2 1/2 games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, while No. 7 Denver is just one game behind the Houston Rockets for the sixth seed. The Nuggets hold a one-game advantage over No. 8 Memphis.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the clubs. The Nuggets defeated Minnesota on November 4th at the Pepsi Center, while the Timberwolves beat Denver on January 14th on the road and on February 9th in front of their home crowd.

The Timberwolves have won 10 of the last 12 meetings in this series. Denver has lost 13 of its last 16 at Minnesota.

Minnesota, which won 58 games in the 2003-04 campaign and was the No. 1 seed in the West in last year's playoffs, plays the finale of a brief two-game homestand. On Wednesday, Wally Szczerbiak scored a game-high 20 points and Kevin Garnett netted 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Timberwolves crushed the Utah Jazz, 111-86, at the Target Center.

Trenton Hassell finished with 14 points in the win over Utah for the Timberwolves, who have won two straight and seven of their last eight games overall. Guard Troy Hudson chipped in 13 points in the victory.

Garnett has recorded five straight double-doubles and has registered 19 in his last 20 contests. the reigning MVP leads the Timberwolves in scoring (22.3 ppg), rebounding (13.8 rpg) and assists (5.6 apg).

The Timberwolves are a respectable 22-15 at home this season. They have won for in a row at the Target Center and are 8-2 in their last 10 as the host. Minnesota, which is 10-5 in Friday games, will play four of its final seven regular season contests in front of its home crowd.

Denver is on a five-game winning streak and will play the finale of a four- game road trip tonight. On Wednesday, Carmelo Anthony finished with 18 points and Andre Miller added 16 points and eight assists to lead the Nuggets past the New Orleans Hornets, 94-83, at New Orleans Arena. DerMarr Johnson and Wesley Person posted 12 points apiece for the Nuggets, who have won 11 of their last 12 games overall.

Center Marcus Camby recorded 11 points and 13 rebounds in the win over New Orleans for the Nuggets, while forward Nene chipped in 10 points.

Anthony has scored more than 20 points in five of his last seven games, while Miller has scored in double-digits in 10 straight games and is averaging 17.3 points and 7.4 assists in that span.

Under the leadership of head coach George Karl, the Nuggets have compiled an unbelievable 26-6 record. Karl became the team's general on January 27th when he replaced interim head coach Michael Cooper.

Denver is 9-3 in Friday games this season.

The Nuggets are 17-21 on the road this season. They have won four in a row as the visitor and are 8-2 in their last 10 away from home. After tonight's contest, Denver returns home for a four-game homestand that consists of contests against the Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Hornets and Memphis.

Five of Denver's final eight games of the regular season are at the Pepsi Center.

04/08 10:27:43 ET


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