The numbers were wacky across the board in Denver Monday, where the Minnesota Timberwolves hung on to beat the Nuggets 132-128. Consider:
- Denver scored 45 points in the fourth quarter (and lost). In fact, it was the Nuggets’ first loss at home in 53 such games when scoring at least 110 points.
- Minnesota went to the foul line 64 times and made 52, the most points on free throws since Phoenix sank 61 in an April 9, 1990 overtime game vs. Utah.
- In the fourth quarter, the Wolves were 20-of-26 on foul shots. For the entire game, the Nuggets were 16-of-25.
- Kevin Love’s 33 points and 19 rebounds left him with an NBA-best 50 double-doubles. He has scored at least 20 points in 15 consecutive games.
- Denver had four players score 20 points or more. With 12-of-33 shooting from 3-point range, the Nuggets outscored Minnesota by 24 points from the arc.
But the most amazing quirk or stat might have been this one: Denver hit four of its 3-pointers in the final 23.4 seconds to make things much closer than they’d been (and explain a bunch of those Minnesota free throws). Per research by the Wolves’ staff, it marked only the seventh time in the StatsCube database (dating to 1996-97) that a team hit four from the arc even in the final minute.
Perhaps the most famous of those came in 2004 when Houston’s Tracy McGrady went off for 13 points in 32.3 seconds (really, you need to watch the video). The only other time such a deep, late scramble resulted in a victory came in Paul Millsap’s breakout overtime game against Miami in 2010.
Here is the short list of such finishes since 1996:
- Denver vs Minnesota, 3/3/2013, 4-of-6 3FGAs, :23.4 sec.: L, 128-132
- Houston at Phoenix, 3/9/2013, 4-of-4, :32.3: L, 105-107
- Utah at Miami, 11/9/2010, 4-of-5, :28.7: W, 116-114 OT
- L.A. Lakers at New York, 2/28/2005, 4-of-4, :45.0: L, 115-117 OT
- Sacramento at Portland, 2/5/2005, 4-of-4, :56.0: L, 108-114
- Houston vs. San Antonio, 12/9/2004, 4-of-4, :35.0: W, 81- 80
- Atlanta at Toronto, 2/12/2003, 4-of-5, :39.0: L, 96-97