MINNEAPOLIS - Kevin Love started practicing early for All-Star weekend, making six of 11 shots from 3-point range and totaling 32 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 117-90 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.
Love, chosen as a first-time starter for the Western Conference team, will also take part in the 3-point shooting contest this weekend in New Orleans.
In five February games, Love has averaged 32.6 points. He sat out twice last week, once because of a stiff neck and again with a bruised left quadriceps, but his banged-up body hasn't hindered his production when he is on the court.
Injuries have affected the Nuggets all season. Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee are hurt, and Andre Miller is on leave because of a strained relationship.
Denver (24-27) has dropped nine of 13 and four in a row to fall behind Minnesota (25-28) and into 11th place. The Wolves trail eighth-place Phoenix by six games.
Jordan Hamilton led the Nuggets with 16 points and seven assists, and J.J. Hickson added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Corey Brewer added 22 points, J.J. Barea pitched in 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting, and Ricky Rubio had 11 points and 12 assists for the Wolves, who had coach Rick Adelman back on the sideline. He missed the previous game Monday, an absence he said was related to his wife's health.
Coach Brian Shaw pined before the game for a more-spirited effort on defense by the Nuggets, who have given up the third-most points per game, but they didn't exactly comply. They left shooters all over the court, and the Wolves made them pay with one of their stronger shooting nights of the season (52.3 percent from the floor) and 20 fast-break points.
The Wolves were ahead 19-3 and they built their lead as big as 61-37 late in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Chase Budinger.
Phoenix at Denver, 7 p.m. Tuesday, ALT