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Nuggets fall in final game before All-Star break

No offensive flow and lots of frustration put a damper on the Nuggets home cooking at Pepsi Center as they fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-99.

The Nuggets struggled to contain the Timberwolves young stars, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins shot 10/14 by halftime and finished with a game high 40 points. Towns dominated the glass down low and finished with a game high 19 rebounds, while adding 24 points.

Denver head coach Mike Malone spoke postgame regarding the dynamic duo from Minnesota. “Wiggins and Towns are a handful. The point of attack, the containment or lack there of was probably the most disappointing thing. You have to embrace that challenge and guard Andrew Wiggins. Don’t rely on the help. Know that it’s there, but don’t rely on it. Tonight, we just got beat at the point of attack way to easy.”

Wiggins simply could not be stopped. His silky jumper or strong penetration into the paint saw no resistance throughout the game from Denver. No assignment that coach Malone put together worked against Minnesota’s leading scorer.

Center Mason Plumlee made his Denver Nuggets debut tonight, playing above the rim with his athleticism all game long that caught the eye of coach Malone. “I felt bad, geez. His first game I played him 34 minutes and he was gassed. It’s great to see him out there. The athleticism that he brings, the lob threat, the above the rim threat that he has, but he was definitely tired.” Coach Malone said postgame of his new center Plumlee, who finished with a near double-double (11 points – 9 rebounds.)

That same laggy and tiring theme continued all game long with an offense that could be described as lethargic, bogged down or simply, not good. There was little energy, shots fell short, high percentage shots didn’t go down and there was no flow to the offense. Coach Malone on tonight’s offense.

“Tonight, we made ourselves very easy to guard. We didn’t cut, we stood, we watched and therefore, kind of bogged down offensively. I think at times Nikola was frustrated, he was trying to impose his will on the game and against Towns and obviously, sometimes, when you try to do too much, you get yourself in trouble.”

If there was one positive to take away from tonight’s game, it was guard play for the Nuggets. Gary Harris finished with a team high 22 points, Will Barton added 18 points and Jameer Nelson almost tallied a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.

Rookie Jamal Murray also added 14 points, shooting his signature bow and arrow four times on the night from downtown. Denver’s three game home winning-streak was snapped as they head into the All-Star break. The 25-31 Nuggets will return to play February 23rd when the team visits the Sacramento Kings.

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