The Denver Nuggets withstood a furious Minnesota Timberwolves rally to hang on for a 70-69 victory in the Las Vegas Summer League opener for both teams Friday at Cox Pavilion.
The Nuggets built a 62-41 lead after three quarters but went cold as the Timberwolves outscored them by 20 in the fourth quarter, 28-8. Denver scored just six points in the final 5:41, the last on Malik Beasley's driving dunk with 1:54 remaining to lead 70-62. The Timberwolves kept chipping away, pulling to within one point on a two foul shots by Josh Okogie with 29 seconds remaining.
Minnesota then had one last chance with three seconds left, but Keita Bates-Diop's 37-footer missed at the buzzer.
Monte Morris led the Nuggets wth 15 points. Beasley finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Vlatko Cancar led the bench with 11 points, four boards and three steals.
Defense was key for the Nuggets, as they held the Timberwolves to 36 percent shooting from the field and 17 percent from 3-point range.
Isaiah Cousins scored a team-high 15 points off the Minnesota bench. Amile Jefferson led the starters with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Okogie totaled 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks.