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Wolves howl, send Nuggets crashing

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Defending National Basketball Association champion Denver Nuggets crashed to their first defeat of the season in an upset 110-89 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, while Boston extended their unbeaten start with a brutal thrashing of Indiana.

Denver began the season in imperious form, building to a 4-0 start, but were stopped in their tracks after a dominant performance from the Timberwolves at Minneapolis’s Target Center.

Anthony Edwards led the Minnesota scoring with 24 points while Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 21 in a wire-to-wire victory for the Timberwolves, who led by 19 points at halftime.

Rudy Gumbert delivered a crucial defensive performance with 12 rebounds and two blocks to help shut down Denver’s free-scoring offense.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic led the Denver scorers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

“It just shows what we’re capable of, honestly,” Minnesota’s Mike Conley said after the win.

“We know we can be a great team — we’ve got to put it together for four quarters.”

“Tonight, we beat a really good team and were able to stick with the easy things and let that just bring us home,” added Conley, who finished with 17 points.

While Denver kissed goodbye to their unbeaten record, there were no such problems for the Celtics, who romped to a 155-104 blowout over the Pacers to improve to 4-0 at the top of the Eastern Conference.

The points total was the second-highest ever in Celtics history, behind the 173 scored in a win over Minneapolis in 1959.

Jayson Tatum led Boston with 30 points and 12 rebounds, with Derrick White adding 18 points and Sam Hauser 17 from five three-pointers.

The game was over as a contest well before the finish, allowing Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla to rest his starters for the entirety of the fourth quarter.

 

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