Edwards scores 29, short-handed Wolves beat Nuggets 124-111

Jan 2, 2023, 5:32 AM | Updated: 8:55 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (5) goes up to shoot past Denver Nuggets guard Kentavi...

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (5) goes up to shoot past Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

(AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

              Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (5) goes up to shoot past Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell (4) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) is fouled by Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) as Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nathan Knight (13) dunks as Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, front left, and forward Aaron Gordon, right, look on during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) reacts after making a basket against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson, left, goes up for a shot as Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. tries to block during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson, right, fouls Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon as he goes up for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell, right, dunks the ball past Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) drives past Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, (50) and forward Michael Porter Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (5) drives past Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown (11) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Denver Nuggets guard Christian Braun (0) dunks the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) grabs a rebound against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
            
              Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) dunks the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown, left, looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 29 points, including 15 in the third quarter to help Minnesota withstand a push by Denver, and the Timberwolves held on for a 124-111 win against the Nuggets on Monday.

Jaden McDaniels had 21 points and Kyle Anderson added 19 for Minnesota, which snapped a six-game losing streak and won its fourth in a row against Denver.

With Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic leading the way, the Nuggets made their push early in the third. But Edwards answered the call, scoring 10 of the final 12 points of the quarter to put the Timberwolves back in front for good.

“They tell me,” Edwards said of his teammates pushing for him to take control. “Especially this group of guys, they be upfront with me. ‘Hey, it’s time to take over.’ Someone told me going into the third quarter after the first time, ‘Alright, take this game over.'”

Jokic finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, and Murray added 14 points after a scoreless first-half. Bones Hyland added 18 points off the bench, but Denver was undone by its sluggish start on the second game of a back-to-back following Sunday’s home win against Boston.

The Nuggets had won 10 of their previous 12 games.

“What I saw was just a team that was more urgent, was more desperate and wanted it more,” Malone said of Minnesota. “Usually that team is going to win the game. Disappointing. Great win last night, but who cares. You just gave it right back tonight.”

Playing without D’Angelo Russell (illness) and Naz Reid (low back spasms) was just the latest blow to the Timberwolves, who have been without Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain), Taurean Prince (right shoulder subluxation) and Jordan McLaughlin (left calf strain) for extended absences.

Holding leads has also been an issue, such as Saturday when Minnesota let an 18-point advantage slip away in a disappointing home loss to last-place Detroit.

Wolves coach Chris Finch wondered if there was a sense of entitlement with his struggling, star-laden team and considered possible changes. Finch didn’t have many options for changes due to being short-handed, but seldom-used Luka Garza and Nathan Knight provided a spark off the bench and helped defend Jokic.

Meanwhile, energy and focus were no problem against the first-place Nuggets.

“Very, very proud of our guys after the weekend,” Finch said. “Obviously, we desperately needed a win here, regardless of who we had playing or who we were playing. It was a total team win. Everybody who came in contributed, executed the game plan to a high level. Played with toughness, played together. It was really fun to watch.”

OFF THE MARK

Denver, who started the day with the second-best shooting percentage in the league and tops from 3-point territory, simply struggled to make shots in the first half.

The Nuggets started the game 3 of 10 from the field, shot 38.9% in the first quarter, including a 1 of 8 mark from 3. They finished the first half at 40.9%.

“I think tonight it boils down for me, I think it’s mental,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “If you’re mentally tough, you’re not giving in to the ‘I’m tired.’ … (Championship) types of teams rise above all the BS, all the noise, all the excuses. You got to tell your body you’re not tired.”

POINT ANT

Without Russell and McLaughlin, the team’s primary point guards, the offense ran through Edwards. He had five assists and 10 rebounds.

“Finchy did a great job,” Edwards said. “He was calling plays. Other times, he’ll tell me when to go. He’ll be like, ‘Alright, go, go, go,’ like when I’m pushing the ball. So, he kind of helped me out tonight.”

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left the game for a short time with a right wrist sprain. He later returned to the game. … Aaron Gordon missed his first 10 shots of the game, but he finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds, including a career-high 12 offensive boards.

Timberwolves: Jaylen Nowell scored 17 points while starting for Russell. … Minnesota shot 60% in the fourth quarter, including 4 of 9 from 3 to stay in front.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Return home against Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

Timberwolves: Host Portland on Wednesday.

___

More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
1 day ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
1 day ago
Edwards scores 29, short-handed Wolves beat Nuggets 124-111