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News » Woeful Wolves feast A 56-36 second-half superiority helps Minnesota stun Denver and snap a 15-game losing streak. TIMBERWOLVES 1

Woeful Wolves feast A 56-36 second-half superiority helps Minnesota stun Denver and snap a 15-game losing streak. TIMBERWOLVES 1

Woeful Wolves feast A 56-36 second-half superiority helps Minnesota stun Denver and snap a 15-game losing streak. TIMBERWOLVES 1The Nuggets sifted out of the losing locker room, escaping into their Escalades, but Carmelo Anthony remained, staring at Sunday's stat sheet, the bedeviling box score mocking him to his face. He finally crumpled the sheet in his big hands and tossed it toward the floor.

Falling apart in the second half against Minnesota, the Nuggets lost 106-100 to a team that had won only once - on opening night, to the still-winless New Jersey Nets.

"The playing-hard thing is driving me crazy. Tell me my play-hard (lineup), tell me five guys I can put on the court to play hard every possession?" Nuggets coach George Karl screamed after the game. "I had it last year. I don't have a play-hard team this year, and it's making me very angry."

If you thought the Nuggets' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers was bad, Sunday's made that one seem like a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, this was the most perplexing loss by any NBA team this season.

Denver was at the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets hadn't lost this season and had won 17 consecutive regular-season games.

Denver was 12-4 overall, was scorching offensively and didn't play the night before.

Denver was playing the freaking Timberwolves.

And you thought Tiger Woods' crash was mysterious.

Trailing by 14 at the half, the Timberwolves stormed back in the third, playing with Nuggets -like confidence. The Wolves (2-15) took the lead at 6:57 in the third and entered the fourth quarter up 81-76. Perhaps the epitomizing play was when Minnesota's Corey Brewer shot a jumper from the top of the key, right in front of the 3-point line, with Arron Afflalo's hand in his face - about as low-percentage as they get. The basket splashed, ho-hum.

"We didn't respect them enough to put them away," said Denver guard Chauncey Billups, whose team was outscored 56-36 in the second half. "You give a team confidence, it's tough to stop them from rolling, no matter what their record is. That really is our fault in this locker room; that's my fault for not stepping up and leading at the start of the third quarter."

The images spoke: J.R. Smith jogging back on defense in transition while Wayne Ellington zoomed past him for a layup attempt; Minnesota's Jonny Flynn driving the lane without any defenders in the paint; Denver's Kenyon Martin slowly walking off the court, his head down for the entire walk into the tunnel.

As for Anthony, the NBA's top scorer did pour in a game-high 32, but consider that he scored 19 points in the first quarter and didn't score again until the 1:50 mark in the third. And with Denver down four and 28.4 seconds left in the game, he fouled Damien Wilkens - with one second on the shot clock. Wilkens made them both, and fans flocked to the exits.

"We got exactly what we deserved," Martin said. "A team's not going to stop playing because they lost 15 straight. They're not going to take the game off the schedule. We should be embarrassed."

Benjamin Hochman: 303-954-1294 or ------------ Collapsible

How did the Nuggets blow a 64-50 halftime lead and lose to the Timberwolves, who came in on a 15-game losing streak? A look at stat comparisons, first half versus second half:

Nuggets' assists 19/4

Nuggets' field-goal

percentage 51.1/30.8

Kenyon Martin's points 13/3

Chauncey Billups'

shooting 1-for-3/1-for-10

Benjamin Hochman, The Denver Post

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 1, 2009


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