DENVER – Kevin Garnett scored 27 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied for a 112-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets scored 28 points just 24 hours after he was ejected in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers when he was caught up in the league’s crackdown on bickering at officials.

He stuck around for every second of this game, but couldn’t match his last-second magic that carried the Nuggets to so many wins last year, misfiring four shots in the final 14 seconds.

Garnett scored nine points in the fourth quarter, when the Timberwolves overcame a five-point deficit in the final five minutes. Rookie Craig Smith added 20 points.

After Troy Hudson’s jumper with 6:12 remaining gave the Timberwolves their first lead of the fourth quarter at 99-98, Anthony had a three-point play and a 3-pointer 20 seconds apart to put Denver up 104-99.

Garnett scored six straight points to put the Wolves ahead 105-104 with 31/2 minutes remaining.

Although Anthony didn’t find reason to argue with any calls against Minnesota, Kenyon Martin did, and once again the Nuggets paid the price.

Martin picked up a technical foul with 3 minutes left for gesturing angrily at an official following his fifth personal, when he leaned on a fallen Garnett near the basket. Ricky Davis hit the technical and Garnett made one of two free throws to turn the tide and give the Wolves a 107-104 lead with 2:43 left.

Garnett added two more free throws for a five-point lead, and Minnesota wouldn’t trail again.

Before the game, Anthony apologized to his teammates for getting ejected from his first game as captain and said he’s going to have to learn to keep his mouth shut.

Commissioner David Stern made it clear to NBA players this season that he doesn’t want to see or hear any negative reactions when calls go against them.

“They ain’t taking nothing from nobody,” Anthony said before the game.

Earl Boykins scored 15 of his 28 points in the first half as Denver took a 57-53 lead.

Notes: Nuggets fans got their first look at Nene since the 2004-05 season. The Brazilian forward sustained a season-ending knee injury three minutes into last year’s opener at San Antonio. … Nuggets G Julius Hodge was deactivated for the second straight game with an infection in his left foot. … Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey was an assistant under Nuggets coach George Karl in Seattle from 1994-98. “He brought me along. He taught me all that I know,” Casey said.

AP-ES-11-03-06 2359EST



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