Carmelo's 24 and 10 pace rout

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets rewarded their fans for their

The Nuggets controlled the lane, the boards and the tempo in
Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series, leading from start to
finish for a 107-86 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday

Playing at home in the postseason for the first time in nine
years, the Nuggets earned their first home playoff victory in a
decade and avoided going down 3-0 in the series.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets,
and Marcus Camby had 16 rebounds to lead Denver's 53-36 edge on the

The Nuggets outscored Minnesota 60-26 in the paint, 18-8 on
second chance points and 15-10 on the break.

"They manhandled us," said Minnesota coach Flip Saunders,
whose team won the first two games of the series by 14 points each.
"They rebounded better than us. They did everything better than

Anthony's 24 points were seven more than he averaged in the
first two games.

"The guy is only 19 years old. He is going to make mistakes and
is trying to find what works for him," Camby said. "I think he
responded well tonight. He came out aggressive, which I was telling
him all year -- that he needs to stay aggressive with his shots."

The Nuggets, who have won their last eight home games and broke
Minnesota's 11-game winning streak, can even the series Tuesday in

Denver's previous home playoff game was May 2, 1995, a 99-95
loss to San Antonio.

The crowd of 19,713 -- the Nuggets' fifth-largest ever -- showed
its love loudly.

"Our fans have been absolutely wonderful," Denver coach Jeff
Bzdelik said. "We knew that our fans would be there for us, and we
talked about us being there for our fans."

Latrell Sprewell scored 25 points and Kevin Garnett added 24 for
the Timberwolves, who fell behind by 17 points early in the game
and only mounted one serious threat after that.

Garnett added 11 rebounds, but that was far fewer than the 21 he
had averaged in the first two games of the series.

Starting center Ervin Johnson had seven rebounds but didn't
score, and backup Michael Olowokandi -- who picked up his fifth foul
late in the third quarter -- had two points and just one rebound in
11 minutes.

Sprewell's 3-pointer got the Timberwolves within 67-59 with just
under 6{ minutes left in the third quarter, but Minnesota didn't
get another field goal until Garnett hit a layup with 10:53 to go
in the game.

By then, it was too late.

Andre Miller hit two free throws after Sprewell's 3, starting an
11-0 Nuggets run -- capped by Voshon Lenard's 3-pointer from the
corner -- that made it 78-59 with 3:12 to go in the period.

After that, The Timberwolves never got closer than 15.

"It's like we didn't do anything right tonight. We didn't
contain anybody," Garnett said. "We really depended upon our
defense as of late, and if felt like we were out of sync or

Denver never trailed, thanks to 61 percent (11-for-18) shooting
in the first quarter. The Timberwolves missed 14 of their first 17

But the Nuggets, who went on an 11-0 run in the first period and
led 23-6 with just over 3{ minutes left, couldn't maintain that

They were just 6-for-23 from the field in the second quarter and
led 54-41 at the half.

Nene finished with 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting for Denver,
after going 4-for-14 from the field in the first two games. Camby
had 12 points and Earl Boykins finished with 10.

Wally Szczerbiak had 11 points for the Timberwolves, who are
seeking their first playoff series win in eight tries. Sam Cassell
added 10 points for Minnesota.

Before Saturday night, the Nuggets hadn't won in the postseason
since beating Utah 94-91 on May 19, 1994, in their former home,
McNichols Arena. That was in the Western Conference semifinals,
also the last time Denver made it out of the first round.

Game notes
Two of the Nuggets' three Hall of Famers, David Thompson
and Alex English, attended Saturday night's game. The third, former
player and coach Dan Issel, was invited but could not attend
because of a scheduling conflict. ... Cleveland's LeBron James, the
NBA rookie of the year, was also at the game to support his friend
Anthony. Rocky, the Nuggets' mascot, gave James a replica of
Anthony's No. 15 jersey. ... Minnesota held the Nuggets to an
average of 86.5 points in the first two games but trailed 85-66
after three quarters Saturday night.


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