MINNEAPOLIS Chauncey Billups scored 15 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, hitting three huge 3-pointers to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves at bay and lift the short-handed Denver Nuggets to a 119-113 victory on Wednesday night.
Michael Beasley scored 33, and Kevin Love had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who missed a chance for their first three-game winning streak since February of last season.
The Nuggets were playing without star Carmelo Anthony for the fifth consecutive game and were missing starters Kenyon Martin, Nenê and top reserve Al Harrington with injuries.
Chris Andersen stepped in with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Ty Lawson had 19 points, five assists and five rebounds off the bench to help the Nuggets to their second consecutive win.
The Timberwolves turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 22 Denver points and had no answer for Mr. Big Shot in the fourth quarter. Minnesota twice pulled within one point in the final four minutes, only to see Billups answer with 3-pointers.
Lawsons speed in transition also was huge in the fourth quarter, fueling Denvers fast breaks during a 12-0 run that gave them a 95-88 lead with 8 minutes to play.
The Wolves clawed their way back to tie it at 105 with 3:15 to play, but Billups drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing and the offensively challenged Andersen scored five points in the final two minutes to help the Nuggets close it out.
Luke Ridnour had 20 points and eight assists, and Martell Webster scored 17 for the Timberwolves.
The Nuggets had everything going against them on Wednesday night. They were playing for the second night in a row and missing Anthony, Nenê (back, hamstring), Harrington (thumb) and Martin (knee).
Playing in just his third game this season, Renaldo Balkman gave the Nuggets a huge lift with his energy off the bench. He scored 10 points in 19 minutes.