West Notes: Nuggets, Nikola Jokic, Timberwolves, Pelicans


The Nuggets blew an 18-point lead before escaping with a road win over the shorthanded Timberwolves on Tuesday, and coach Michael Malone was none too pleased.Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, NBA

“You have to put teams away,” Malone told reporters. “That’s something we really have to get better at.”

Nikola Jokic was again brilliant with 35 points and 16 rebounds, pushing Denver back into percentage points of Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s top seed. (Minnesota fell to third.)

“It’s really hard to play against a team that they’re missing a lot of guys,” Jokic said. “Of course the other guys are playing hard.”

  • Malone was pleased with the Nuggets’ four-game trip, in which they won three, losing only to the Mavericks on a last-second hook shot from Kyrie Irving. “To finish up the road trip 3-1 is outstanding,” he said, via Bennett Durando of the Denver Post.


Anthony Edwards finished with 30 points for his fourth straight 30-point game in Tuesday’s loss to the Nuggets — but he really needed 33.

Instead, he missed a clean look from the wing to tie it at the buzzer. The shot was created after Edwards’ crossover dribble, but hit the front of the rim. Somehow, the Nuggets held him scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Still, fellow guard Mike Conley suggested the shorthanded Timberwolves can hold their heads high after battling back from 18 points down.

“For us to have a showing like we did going against one of the better teams out there, it shows a lot of grit, shows what we’re made of,” Conley said.

  • Minnesota has another toughie on Friday, facing the Cavaliers at home. The teams met earlier this month, in Cleveland, a game in which the T-Wolves lost in OT.


The Pelicans dispatched the host Nets fairly easily behind Zion Williamson‘s 28 points on Tuesday, winning their third straight and seventh in eight games.

“I think it says we’re watching film and adjusting as we get further in the season,” said forward Larry Nance Jr., who added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

New Orleans (42-26) has secured its second straight winning season and currently sits in fifth in the Western Conference.

“We’re trying to build starting with our foundation,” coach Willie Green told reporters. “It starts with the people we bring in our building that contribute to having a healthy program, high character people that bring a ton of energy, hard workers, top to bottom. That’s the program that we’re trying to build — it’s a sustainable winning culture and it feels like we’re trending in a good way right now.”

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