Denver 110, Minnesota 101

When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, January 5, 2015
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Officials: #45 Brian Forte, #11 Lauren Holtkamp, #19 James Capers
Attendance: 10386

By SportsDirect Inc.

Nuggets 110, Timberwolves 111: Arron Afflalo scored a season-high 34 points as visiting Denver sent Minnesota to its 12th straight loss.

Afflalo was 11-of-18 from the floor and made four 3-pointers while backcourt mate Ty Lawson handed out 12 assists as the Nuggets defeated the Timberwolves for the second time in 11 days. J.J. Hickson had 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and Kenneth Faried finished with 15 points for Denver.

Gorgui Dieng tied a career high with 22 points and hauled in 12 rebounds to lead Minnesota, which played without head coach Flip Saunders, who was absent due to an illness. Andrew Wiggins added 20 points, Shabazz Muhammad had 19 and Mo Williams chipped in 17 while assistant Sam Mitchell served as coach.

Afflalo hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 points in the first quarter as Denver opened a 35-21 lead and never looked back. The advantage ballooned to 49-27 on Nate Robinson’s basket with just over seven minutes left in the second and Denver settled for a 21-point halftime lead after shooting 61 percent from the floor.

Wiggins capped a 7-0 run early in the third with a 3-pointer that made it 66-52 and the Timberwolves pulled within 12 on multiple occasions in the quarter before Denver scored the final six points of the stanza for an 87-69 lead. After a dunk by Darrell Arthur put the Nuggets up 94-71, Minnesota crawled to within 10 with four minutes left but it then endured a cold spell and never got any closer than the final margin.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Timberwolves Fs Chase Budinger and Robbie Hummel also sat due to the illness that is going around the team. … Denver’s bench outscored Minnesota’s by a 47-10 margin. … C Jusuf Nurkic contributed 14 points and four blocks off the bench for the Nuggets.