Nikola Jokic helped his cause in the Most Valuable Player race with 31 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 114-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday in Minneapolis.
Jokic's three-point play -- drawing a foul on Karl-Anthony Towns on a one-legged, step-back jumper -- capped an 8-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter that effectively put away the win for Denver (46-24).
The Nuggets improved to 2-0 on their season-ending, four-game road swing, but not without a fight from Minnesota (22-48).
The Timberwolves' Anthony Edwards strengthened his bid for NBA Rookie of the Year with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Towns wound up with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which cut a 13-point, third-quarter deficit down to three heading into the final period.
However, the Timberwolves never got closer in the fourth as Denver pulled away.
Denver got a balanced scoring effort, with six players recording at least 12 points. Markus Howard and Vlatko Cancar both scored career highs off the bench with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Aaron Gordon had 15 points and Austin Rivers scored 12 points.
The Nuggets' JaVale McGee recorded a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds, including five offensive boards. Jokic grabbed six offensive rebounds, which contributed to the Nuggets' 18-11 advantage in second-chance points.
Denver dominated Minnesota in the paint to the tune of a 60-30 scoring edge.
D'Angelo Russell contributed 17 points for Minnesota, and Naz Reid had 10. Ricky Rubio scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and tied for the team high with five assists.
The win was the Nuggets' 11th in a row against the Timberwolves, and it completed a three-game season sweep. Denver concludes the regular season at Detroit on Friday and at Portland on Sunday.
The Timberwolves have two home games left, against Boston on Friday and Dallas on Sunday.
--Field Level Media