December 25, 2014

The Minnesota Timberwolves can exhale a bit as they head back out on the road following a rare home victory. The Denver Nuggets are all too familiar with that feeling of disappointment on their own floor.

Minnesota looks to match last season's road win total Friday night and send Denver to a six straight home loss.

The Timberwolves (9-12) ended a three-game home losing streak and won for just the third time in 12 tries at Target Center with a 123-122 overtime victory over the Western Conference-worst Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Kevin Martin scored 37 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for Minnesota, which also snapped a four-game overall slide.

The Timberwolves now open a stretch of five of seven on the road, where they're 6-3 after going 7-34 last season.

"It's these little things, especially about to go on an away trip," Towns told the team's official website. "Knowing that we were able to get a 'W' at home and be able to now go on the road where we've been very successful allows us to play well."

Martin hadn't been playing well at all. He averaged 7.7 points on 28.3 percent shooting in the last 12 games before going 14 of 27 from the field and making 6 of 9 3-pointers Wednesday.

"Kevin's been in a month-long slump, but I give credit to Kevin, he works hard every day, he's been playing defense, he's been rebounding, he's been moving the basketball," interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "He's been doing other things to give us a chance to win.

"Even some of the games that we won that he didn't score, I kept telling him the reason that he was on the floor is because he was playing defense. But it was good to see him, we needed every point."

Towns scored 28 while adding 14 rebounds and four blocks in a 95-78 win at Denver on Oct. 30, with Martin contributing 14 points in 21 minutes off the bench.

That's one of seven losses in 10 home games for the Nuggets, who have matched that poor offensive play in the last three on their five-game skid at Pepsi Center.

Denver (8-14) ended an eight-game slide by concluding a five-game trip with back-to-back wins over Toronto and Philadelphia, but it fell 85-74 to Orlando on Wednesday to open a stretch of three in a row at home.

Reserve guard Will Barton led the way with 23 points while the starters combined to score 41 on 15-of-44 shooting (34.1 percent).

The Nuggets are averaging 82.7 points and shooting 37.7 percent in their last three in Denver.

"Our offense is on a milk carton - it's missing. I don't know where it is," coach Michael Malone said. "It's very simple: When you turn the ball over, when you can't make open shots and when you can't finish, you're going to have a hard time scoring."

Minnesota has won two in a row and three of four in Denver after going 2-12 in its previous 14 visits.

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