Thin Air Tonight: Timberwolves at Nuggets Preview

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolves head to Denver for their first ESPN appearance of the year. Can they keep the momentum up from their last game?

Timberwolves at Nuggets
7:00 pm Central ESPN

The Nuggets are off to a rather non-descript 3-4 start under new head coach Brian Shaw.  However, after three straight losses to start the season, they have rebounded to win three of their last four, including the last two at home over the hapless Jazz and Lakers.

Those two wins have featured strong performances by Kenneth Faried, who posted went 15 and 13 against the Jazz, and 21 and 13 against the Lakers.

Ty Lawson has been the main driver for the Nuggets this year, however, leading the team in scoring and assists and having particular success getting into the lane and drawing fouls.  He's averaging over 7 FTA a game, and it will a task for Ricky Rubio to try to contain his penetration, something that's very difficult to do in the NBA against guys as quick as Lawson.  Help will have to come from the Wolves' bigs, and the defensive rotations will have to be sharp to limit the damage Lawson does.

The Nuggets are missing a major perimeter weapon in Danilo Gallinari, who is out following knee surgery, which has certainly hampered their offensive effectiveness. Center Timofey Mozgov has become a weapon off the bench, especially in the absence of also injured Javale McGee.

Shaw has been playing a deep rotation, as nobody other than Lawson is averaging more than 29 minutes a game. This might be an advantage for the Nuggets given the altitude in Denver and the fact that the Wolves reserves have generally been struggling this year.  Asking the starters to bring this one home with 36 minutes each might prove difficult in the 4th quarter.

Nonetheless, the Wolves need to consolidate their good start with another win tonight against a beatable Western Conference opponent.

No Jim Pete tonight, as ESPN has the game, which also means no league pass.

We'll be back in a bit with your first half game thread.

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