Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 10/30

Game 1: Wednesday, October 30th
Game 2: Monday, December 9th
Game 3: Monday, January 13th
Game 4: Wednesday, February 19th

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, October 30, 2002

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 16 23 24 1477
    MIN 24 30 16 1383

    Top Performers

    Denver: J. Posey 15 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Minnesota: K. Garnett 13 Pts, 12 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Nuggets' 22-4 run falls just short of Timberwolves

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The banged up Minnesota Timberwolves barely outlasted Denver's young players.


    Newcomer Troy Hudson scored 23 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 83-77 season-opening win on Wednesday night over the new-look Nuggets, who rallied from 25 points down but came up short at the end.

    Kevin Garnett added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are still adjusting to coach Flip Saunders' newly installed motion offense.

    "It's a work in progress,'' Saunders said. "We've got so many new guys coming in and so many guys injured, it's going to take awhile.''

    The loss spoiled the debut of Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik, who was promoted to head coach in August.

    "The young guys played hard, very well,'' Bzdelik said. "They made some mistakes, but mistakes are going to be made with great effort.''

    Only two players who were with the Nuggets for last season's opener -- Ryan Bowen and James Posey -- are left on Denver's roster. Bzdelik was without two of his best players, Marcus Camby (hip surgery) and Juwan Howard (suspension).

    Denver did manage to make it interesting in the third quarter after the Wolves jumped out to a 66-41 lead. The Nuggets went on a 22-4 run and took advantage of poor Minnesota shooting to pull to 70-63 at the end of the third.

    "I was surprised about that,'' Nikoloz Tskitishvili said. "We really ran the floor hard, we played defense hard. That's why we really came back.''

    The Wolves shot 26.3 percent in the second half while Denver shot 45.9 percent.

    "They started making their run, and we started worrying about them making their run instead of just doing what we did to get the lead in the first place,'' Hudson said. "When we did run our motion offense, we were running it without a purpose. We were just making lazy cuts, lazy passes.''

    Both teams struggled from the field in the fourth. Chris Whitney made it 82-76 on a 3-pointer with 2:57 left. But the Nuggets didn't have a field goal for the rest of the game.

    Reserve Chris Andersen led Denver with 16 points and Posey added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

    Hudson's aggressive play keyed the Wolves' offense in the first quarter with his slashing and crisp passes.

    "I can't sit back and play passive, I've got to out and continue to do the things I did to get to this point,'' said Hudson, who played mostly as a backup with Orlando.

    Filling in for injured starter Terrell Brandon, who's recovering from knee surgery, Hudson scored Minnesota's first nine points on a series of jumpers. He hit a jumper with 34 seconds left in the first half to give the Wolves a 54-39 halftime lead.

    "Whenever I'm aggressive getting to the basket, looking for my shot, I play better, if I'm not aggressive, I have a lot of turnovers," Hudson said. "They want me to stay in my character.''

    The Wolves took the floor with only two healthy starters from last season -- Garnett and Rasho Nesterovic. All-Star shooting guard Wally Szczerbiak sat out with soreness in his small left toe, which he dislocated in a preseason game.

    Anthony Peeler started in place of Szczerbiak, who sat on the bench dressed in street clothes. Second-year forward Loren Woods, who played sparingly last season, started in place of Joe Smith, who's nursing a strained groin.

    Peeler had 14 points for the Wolves, who finished shooting 41.5 percent from the field to Denver's 39.7 percent.

    Nene Hilario was another bright spot for Denver, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 boards. He keyed an early 7-2 run to pull Denver to 28-23 with 9:54 to go in the first half. But Minnesota outscored the Nuggets 24-16 to close the half.

    Game notes

    The Wolves' biggest first-half lead was 15 points. ... Garnett scored the 10,000th point of his career with his first basket in the second quarter. ... The average age of the 15 players on Denver's roster is 24.1. The average years of NBA experience is 2.4. ... Hudson made an impressive basket in the third quarter, driving baseline and throwing up a high arching shot over an outstretched defender's arm. ... Woods and Nesterovic went a combined 5-for-20 from the field.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press