Timberwolves take down defending champion Nuggets to get back to .500

If anything was to be learned about the Timberwolves last season, it was that one performance had literally nothing to do with the next.

So it should come as no surprise that two nights after being wiped off the floor in Atlanta, Minnesota downed the defending champion Nuggets with ease Wednesday at Target Center.

Minnesota controlled the game from start to finish in its 110-89 victory to get back to 2-2 on the season. The Wolves jumped out to a 9-0 advantage in the opening minutes, expanded it to 18-4 and never allowed the Nuggets (3-1) to get any closer than five from there.

“It just shows what we’re capable of,” Mike Conley said in his postgame, on-court interview. “We know we can be a great team, we’ve just got to put it together for four quarters.”

It was a stark contrast from two days prior, where Minnesota turned a 20-point advantage into a blowout defeat in a matter of roughly 10 minutes of game time.

Minnesota’s approach against the defending champs was much more committed from start to finish. The Wolves took off few defensive possessions and, most important, got back in transition.

For the first time this season, the Wolves (2-2) won the fast-break battle, outscoring the Nuggets 16-9 in transition. Minnesota actually felt like the faster team, with Anthony Edwards racing out to a number of open-court buckets en route to his 24-point showing.

Karl-Anthony Towns tallied 21 points and eight rebounds in his best showing of the year.

It truly never felt as though Denver was going to mount a charge. The Nuggets had to work for everything offensively. Nikola Jokic — a typically dominant distributor — was limited to just three assists as Minnesota forced the perennial MVP candidate to do the scoring himself.

Jamal Murray finished with 14 points, but only after missing his first nine shots.

The Timberwolves continue to be a dominant half-court defense. If you aren’t willing to out-run them — as Denver isn’t wont to do — good luck out-dueling them in a structured affair.

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