Melo lifts Nuggets past Wolves

DENVER (AP) -- For almost three quarters, the Denver Nuggets
looked like they would lose a second-straight game to a sub.-500
division rival.

Andre Miller's block of Ricky Davis with 15.9 seconds remaining
in the third helped change that -- starting a 7-0 run that would
give the Nuggets the lead for good in their 106-94 win over the
Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night.

"It was needed," Miller said of the block, which came with
Denver trailing 76-72 and Minnesota shooting more than 50 percent
from the floor. "It carried into the fourth quarter and brought a
lot of energy to the crowd."

Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points and Ruben Patterson added 14
for the Nuggets, who ended a two-game losing streak as they try to
win their first division title since the 1987-88 season.

They increased their lead over Utah to 6 games in the Northwest
Division, with the Jazz losing to the Los Angeles Clippers 106-91.
Denver lost to Utah 115-104 Wednesday night.

Kevin Garnett scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the
Timberwolves, who lost their 11th straight game on the road.

The Nuggets struggled on both ends of the court for most of the
first three quarters. They missed alley-oops and easy shots under
the basket. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, shot 50.8 percent from the
floor by the end of the third quarter, compared with 38.6 by

But late in the third, the Nuggets turned it around.

Denver's defense tightened, forcing a 24-second violation.
Miller then got the block. And Greg Buckner scored five straight
points to end the period, his second shot a 3-pointer, to pull
Denver to 76-75 to start the fourth.

"That was huge, but that wasn't the play," Minnesota guard
Marcus Banks said of Miller's block. "It was the play after play
after play."

The rally continued in the fourth quarter, with the Nuggets
forcing two straight turnovers and getting two dunks by Marcus
Camby and Reggie Evans to take a 79-76 lead with 10:53 remaining.

Denver would never trail again.

"That's the kind of energy we would like to have going into the
last nine games of the season," Anthony said. "We needed momentum
after losing two games in a row before tonight."

The Nuggets outrebounded the Timberwolves 51-38, including
grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.

"It's hard to run out when you don't get defensive stops,"
Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "They got so many offensive
boards that it slowed down our momentum."

The fourth quarter also got physical between the teams.

Patterson, credited with giving the Nuggets added energy since
his trade from Portland last month, received his second technical
and was kicked out of the game after arguing with Rashad McCants
with 4:24 remaining. McCants fouled out about a minute later.

Justin Reed also was ejected after a technical late in the game,
and Evans received a technical with 7.3 seconds left, a call he
questioned to referee Jim Clark when the game ended.

The Nuggets finished 29-for-40 at the free throw line, while the
Timberwolves made 11 of 17.

"In the third and fourth quarter, both teams started playing
more aggressively," Anthony said. "Some guys got thrown out on
our team, and some guys got thrown out on their team. We kept
fighting and we weren't going to back down. It's not anything
personal with them. Just the heat of the moment."

Game notes
Nuggets F Eduardo Najera missed the game with soreness in
his right knee. He played 3 minutes Wednesday against Utah after
missing the previous four games because of the injury. ... Anthony
scored 30 or more points 10 times in March, including eight of the
last 10 games. ... The Timberwolves last road win was on Feb. 6
victory at Phoenix. ... Garnett's 58 double-doubles lead the NBA.