Nuggets overcome Towns' triple-double to edge Timberwolves

Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) tries to block Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Nuggets overcome Towns’ triple-double to edge Timberwolves

DENVER (AP) — Andrew Wiggins beat Wilson Chandler by a half-step on his drive to the basket. Chandler, though, beat Wiggins to the rim.

Chandler scored 17 points and swatted away Wiggins’ attempted layup with a soaring block in the final seconds, helping the Denver Nuggets hang on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-103 Wednesday night.

“I got lucky,” Chandler said. “When he turned the corner, he had a little edge on me. I just jumped up. I thought he was going to dunk it but I was going for the block regardless.”

Denver also overcame a triple-double by Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Timberwolves.

Double-teamed much of the night, Towns put together a big fourth quarter, when he scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds to go with two assists.

“When teams double-, triple-, quadruple-team you, you just have to pass it out and trust your teammates to hit shots, and our team is working hard to hit shots,” Towns said. “We wanted to get out of here with a win. We fought and clawed back. We could have won that game.”

But Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 18 points, hit the go-ahead basket with 27 seconds left for the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic was two rebounds shy of his own triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Wiggins had 25 points for the Timberwolves, and Gorgui Dieng added 20.

A tip-in by Wiggins tied the score 64-all with 5:30 left in the third quarter. Denver responded with a 13-2 run that included three straight baskets by Gary Harris over the next four minutes and took an 81-73 lead into the fourth.

Jokic helped the Nuggets open a 93-83 lead with 7:22 left, grabbing a defensive rebound and leading the break down court before dishing a lead pass to Chandler off a behind-the-back dribble. With a clear path to the basket, Chandler went in for a dunk.

Minnesota tied it again at 103 when Wiggins made one of two free throws, but Gallinari banked in a contested jumper over Wiggins for the decisive basket.

“As soon as I got the ball I was trying to shoot the ball, but I saw Wiggins coming,” Gallinari said. “He was kind of being aggressive with me so it gave me the chance to drive, but he’s a very good athlete and he closed out the drive so I tried to find another way to get the space. I spun around and I saw him jumping very high, so I had to throw the ball up a little higher than usual. I’m glad it went in.”

Chandler helped to preserve the victory when he shadowed Wiggins on a drive and blocked his layup attempt with 8.8 seconds left. Harris got the rebound for Denver and tossed the ball down court to try to run out the clock — the Nuggets had no timeouts. Zach LaVine chased it down for a steal, however, and just missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Timberwolves led by 13 early but the Nuggets made up ground in the second quarter, outscoring Minnesota by nine points in the period. Wiggins, who had 20 in the first half, banked in a 3-pointer near the end of the second to help the Timberwolves salvage a 49-all tie at halftime.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: After beating Atlanta on Monday, the Timberwolves were denied in their bid for back-to-back wins for the second time this season. … Minnesota has dropped 10 games this season in which it led by 10 or more points. … The triple-double by Towns was the first of his career.

Nuggets: Jokic has had a double-double in six of his last 11 games. The 11 assists represented a career high. … Denver improved to 7-8 at home. … Denver won for just the second time in the last 13 games in which an opposing player registered a triple-double.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Open a two-game homestand Friday night against Milwaukee.

Nuggets: Complete a two-game homestand by hosting Philadelphia on Friday night.