Nuggets Vs. Timberwolves: Shorthanded Denver Wins Behind Chauncey Billups' 36 Points

The Denver Nuggets pulled off a 119-113 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night--and that was without Melo, Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington and Nene!

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Nuggets Vs. Timberwolves: Shorthanded Denver Wins Behind Chauncey Billups' 36 Points

The Denver Nuggets emerged with a hard-fought 119-113 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center on Wednesday night. The Nuggets did this without Carmelo Anthony, Al Harrington, Kenyon Martin or Nene playing in the game. Their absence manifested itself early on when the Timberwolves held a 30-23 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Nuggets shot only 32 percent from the field at that point.

However, Chauncey Billups turned into the hero with his season-high 36 points. He was 9-of-14 from the field (6-of-6 from beyond the arc) and made 12-of-13 free throws. For good measure, he added five assists and three steals. He did, however, also lead the team with five turnovers. Fellow point guard Ty Lawson contributed 19 points, five assists and five rebounds off the bench.

Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman benefited from the absence of the Nuggets' front court starters. Ely started the game and grabbed six rebounds (five offensive). Balkman played a season-high 19 minutes and contributed 10 points. Balkman accentuated his scoring with three thunderous dunks while going 4-5 from the field. Chris Andersen led the team in rebounds with seven. Shelden Williams, who has lost playing time to Andersen and Kenyon Martin, had four steals.

Michael Beasley scored 33 for the T-Wolves (8-25), and Kevin Love registered his 19th double-double with 26 points and 14 boards. Luke Ridenour also contributed 20 in the loss.

The Nuggets (18-13) are finished for the rest of 2010 and will start 2011 on Jan. 1 with a game against the Sacramento Kings.

Evan Pfaff contributed to this update.

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Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony To Return To Team Thursday

In a statement posted on their official web site, the Denver Nuggets stated that forward Carmelo Anthony is expected to return tomorrow, a day after the Nuggets play the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony is scheduled to return to the team Thursday after spending time grieving his sister Michelle’s death.

In all Melo will have missed five games after the loss of his sister Michelle last week. The Nuggets are 1-3 in four games so far, losing to the San Antonio Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers. They beat the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without the services of Brandon Roy, on Tuesday night.

Anthony's first game back will also be the first game of 2011, when the team hosts the Sacramento Kings on January 1. This will be the first of four contests between the team, and the Kings are a bad, bad team. They are 5-23 and currently on an eight-game losing streak--exactly the kind of team the Nuggets should pick up some wins against.

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