Wiggins scores 40 as Timberwolves beat Nuggets

Andrew Wiggins scored 40 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 24 points and 18 rebounds in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 112-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

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Denver Nuggets press day, Sept. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The Nuggets fell in their final game of the All-Star break. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press

DENVER — Andrew Wiggins scored 40 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 24 points and 18 rebounds in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 112-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Wiggins’ second 40-plus game in 24 hours helped the Timberwolves split the season series with the Nuggets, whom they’re chasing for the eighth playoff spot in the West.

Before tip-off, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau spoke about the danger of checking out mentally before the final game leading up to the All-Star break. He suggested focus was paramount in a game like this because “mentally if you go on the break before the break comes, it’s a problem.”

It wasn’t for Minnesota, which bounced back nicely from a 116-108 loss to LeBron James and the Cavs on Tuesday night when Wiggins scored 41.

The Nuggets went cold 48 hours after blowing out Golden State behind an NBA record-tying 24 3-pointers on 40 tries. They made just 11 of 34 from long range this time, and Nicola Jokic shot just 6 of 19 from the floor for 15 hard-earned points.

The Nuggets couldn’t match their sharpshooting or their energy they had 48 hours earlier when they walloped the Warriors 132-110 despite missing six players, including three starters.

Those three — Danilo Gallinari (groin), Emmanuel Mudiay (back) and Kenneth Faried (ankle) — also sat out this game, along with sixth man Wilson Chandler, who missed his second straight game due to illness.

Mason Plumlee, acquired for Jusuf Nurkic on Sunday, made his debut, starting alongside Jokic in the frontcourt. He had 11 points and nine rebounds.