Towns, Butler Lead Timberwolves to Win over Denver
DENVER (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns dominated the start of the fourth quarter and Jimmy Butler took over at the end to stop Denver's eight-game home winning streak.
Towns had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Butler also scored 25 and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Nuggets 112-104 on Wednesday night.
Jamal Crawford added 20 points and seven assists off the bench for the Timberwolves, who rallied from 14 down.
Denver was without leading scorer Gary Harris and backup point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, forcing coach Michael Malone to use his 13th different starting lineup. Malone went with a bigger group and started Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee together for the first time this season.
It worked for most of the game, but the Nuggets faltered after taking an 80-66 lead late in the third quarter.
"We didn't play a great 48 minutes, but we did enough to get the win," Towns said. "Sometimes wins are not going to be the prettiest ones, but as long as there's a win at the end of the day it's always fun."
Jamal Murray led Denver with 30 points. Plumlee added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Jokic had 22 points, six rebounds and a career-high 10 turnovers.
"The turnovers have been a recurring nightmare all season," Malone said.
Butler started slowly two nights after scoring 37 points and hitting 11 of 12 free throws against Portland. He had just 14 points with 4:41 left and then hit a 3-pointer to spark Minnesota's late surge.
He scored nine straight points when the Timberwolves extended a two-point lead to 110-102 late in the game.
"That's who he is," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That's Jimmy Butler."
Towns was a force earlier in the period when he scored the first 11 points for Minnesota. The Timberwolves used a 19-4 run in the third and fourth to go up by one.
Crawford sparked an 11-2 spurt midway through the fourth to give the Timberwolves a 102-95 lead.
Timberwolves: Jeff Teague had 16 points and eight assists. ... Minnesota committed nine turnovers, one fewer than Jokic had on his own. ... F Nemanja Bjelica, out since Nov. 22 with a sprained left midfoot, was going through drills before the game and shooting 3-pointers from long range. He is close to returning but missed his 14th straight game.