Murray leads charge as Nuggets beat Timberwolves 133-107
Mason Plumlee was completely surrounded under the basket when he tossed a no-look pass over his head to teammate Nikola Jokic for an easy score.
Now that's more to the liking of coach Michael Malone, who implored his players to return to their selfless ways after a bumpy stretch.
Jamal Murray scored 19 of his 30 points in the second half, Plumlee dished out eight of Denver's season-high 40 assists and the Nuggets cruised to a 133-107 victory over the banged-up Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Called out by Malone after a lackadaisical performance in a loss at Golden State last week, the Nuggets responded by playing with more intensity. It was the first time they've had 40 assists since April 6, 2013.
"The message was delivered. The guys embraced it, accepted it, owned it and went out and played tonight at a very high level," Malone said.
Paul Millsap finished with 23 points, including a buzzer-beater from half-court to end the third quarter. Jokic added 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to help Denver snap a two-game slide at Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets are hanging on to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. They are 5-4 since the All-Star break.
"We're focused on the bigger picture right now," Plumlee said. "There's a chance to do something special."
Karl-Anthony Towns had 34 points and 10 rebounds to pace a Timberwolves team that's fading from play-off contention. Towns did a little bit of everything to keep the Timberwolves close until Denver pulled away in the third quarter. He had one play where he quickly applied the brakes to shake free from Jokic and then stepped back to hit a long jumper. Towns grinned on his way back down the floor.
"In boxing, Mike Tyson said: 'Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the face,'" said Towns, who was back after missing a game with knee inflammation. "When we punched them in the face, they stuck to their game plan. We got punched in the face, we started getting erratic, started speeding ourselves up."Other results: New York Knicks 98, Indiana Pacers 103; Cleveland Cavaliers 99, Philadelphia 76ers 106; Los Angeles Lakers 123, Chicago Bulls 107; Milwaukee Bucks 130, New Orleans Pelicans 113; San Antonio Spurs 112, Dallas Mavericks 105; Portland Trail Blazers 125, LA Clippers 104.