In the final seconds of the game the Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Denver Nuggets 117-113. While you might see Andre Miller‘s rebound a savvy veteran move, Timberwolves Coach Rick Adelman thought it was exploiting an unfair advantage.
But however you see it, that is ultimately what helped the Nuggets pull if this thrilling victory.
Miller ran in from the 3-point line to rebound Wilson Chandler‘s missed free throw with 12.9 seconds and then hit a free throw to seal the Nuggets’ 117-113 win over Minnesota on Friday night.
Chandler scored 19 points and 4 rebounds; Kenneth Faried had 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Nuggets were able to hold on in the final minute. Guard Ty Lawson had 14 points and 10 assists for Denver, who scored 66 points off the bench to fend off Minnesota.
The biggest bench play belonged to Miller. With Chandler at the line, Denver leading by three and trying to hold off a furious Minnesota rally, the 14-year veteran got the jump on everyone to get the missed free throw. Adelman, the Timberwolves coach, thought Miller left early but blamed the rule and not the player for the turn of events.
“It makes no sense why the league allows that to happen. It’s the only shot in basketball you can’t box out on,” Adelman said. “I don’t understand for 10 years why they don’t say nobody can go in there until the ball hits the rim.
“For all the stuff we change we never look at that situation. Somebody will lose a big game in the playoffs and they’ll change something.”
But according to Miller said he was just trying to take the Timberwolves by surprise.
“We talk about those things in practice, and blocking out on our side. They didn’t do it,” Miller said. “Kind of had their hands on their knees and I just kind of snuck in there just in case (the ball came out).”
J.J. Barea, who finished with 21 points, hit a shot at the buzzer, cutting it to five heading into the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets’ reserves continued their strong play in the fourth quarter. Fournier hit a 3-pointer and guard Andre Miller’s putback banker and 3-pointer made it 103-92 with 6:22 left.
The Timberwolves (6-4) were able to come back 109-101 on Love’s 3-pointer with 3:19 left. And Corey Brewer‘s hit a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left and that cut Denver’s lead to just four.
After Chandler hit two free throws to make it a five-point game, Love made a 3-pointer with 18.9 seconds left to cut the lead to 115-113.
Chandler hit a free throw, Miller came up with his big play and Faried, who finished with 10 rebounds, blocked Martin’s driving attempt in the final seconds to seal the win.
“It was our defense all game. Our rotations weren’t there,” Love said. “We needed to help the helper, ball screen rotations, they were off all night but we were still right there at the end.”
Despite the close loss, Minnesota still feels good about the start to the season.
“We had a few games we felt could have gone our way but if we can get 60 percent or more of our games we’ll feel good about that,” Love said. “We feel as if we can get a lot better with this team. It’s still mid-November and we’re going to get a lot better.”