A rejuvenated Kenneth Faried and the continued emergence of Will Barton propelled the Denver Nuggets to a 100-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night, the first time Denver has won two straight games since beating Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks on January 9th and 14th.

Faried finished with a team-high 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Barton scored 17 points off the bench to improve interim head coach Melvin Hunt’s record to 2-0.

While a victory over the 13-win Timberwolves isn’t anything to write home about, it was Denver’s first on the second night of a back-to-back since mid-December, and the Nuggets have looked more spirited since the dismissal of former head coach Brian Shaw.

Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett picked up on that as well – and he’s never been one for toning down his rhetoric.


Anyways, back to the game – the Nuggets really opened this one up in the second quarter, outscoring the Timberwolves 34-16 behind a very balanced attack. With 16 points, Danilo Gallinari was once again solid in the one, and it didn’t matter that Ty Lawson finished with a big fat zero on the night (he missed all 19 of his shots).

The Nuggets were once again moving the ball well throughout the evening – which has a lot to do with Gallinari increasingly becoming a threat with the ball, as well as the improved pace the Nuggets have played with lately. And although many will point to the coaching change as a reason for that, I’d argue that the insertion of Will Barton into the rotation has as much to do with the Nuggets willingness to get out and run as anything.

The Nuggets finished with 19 fast break points to Minnesota’s three.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this one was Denver’s defense. Faried once again started at the center spot with rookie Jusuf Nurkic out, and the Nuggets dominated down low despite Faried’s short stature. Denver outscored the Timberwolves a whopping 52-28 down low. Shots charts like this one are a serious step in the right direction:


Of course, we are talking about Minnesota, so take Denver’s improvement with a heavy dose of salt. For the Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins finished with 20 points (Garnett finished with 11).

The Nuggets will have night off before taking on the Spurs in San Antonio Friday night. Tip-off is set for 6:30 M.T.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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