PLAYOFFS
MIN Wins series 4-1
58-24, 27-14 away
86
1234T
MIN1823252086
DEN30243122107
43-39, 29-12 home
107

Carmelo's 24 and 10 pace rout

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets rewarded their fans for their

patience.

The Nuggets controlled the lane, the boards and the tempo in

Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series, leading from start to

finish for a 107-86 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday

night.

Playing at home in the postseason for the first time in nine

years, the Nuggets earned their first home playoff victory in a

decade and avoided going down 3-0 in the series.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets,

and Marcus Camby had 16 rebounds to lead Denver's 53-36 edge on the

boards.

The Nuggets outscored Minnesota 60-26 in the paint, 18-8 on

second chance points and 15-10 on the break.

"They manhandled us," said Minnesota coach Flip Saunders,

whose team won the first two games of the series by 14 points each.

"They rebounded better than us. They did everything better than

us."

Anthony's 24 points were seven more than he averaged in the

first two games.

"The guy is only 19 years old. He is going to make mistakes and

is trying to find what works for him," Camby said. "I think he

responded well tonight. He came out aggressive, which I was telling

him all year -- that he needs to stay aggressive with his shots."

The Nuggets, who have won their last eight home games and broke

Minnesota's 11-game winning streak, can even the series Tuesday in

Denver.

Denver's previous home playoff game was May 2, 1995, a 99-95

loss to San Antonio.

The crowd of 19,713 -- the Nuggets' fifth-largest ever -- showed

its love loudly.

"Our fans have been absolutely wonderful," Denver coach Jeff

Bzdelik said. "We knew that our fans would be there for us, and we

talked about us being there for our fans."

Latrell Sprewell scored 25 points and Kevin Garnett added 24 for

the Timberwolves, who fell behind by 17 points early in the game

and only mounted one serious threat after that.

Garnett added 11 rebounds, but that was far fewer than the 21 he

had averaged in the first two games of the series.

Starting center Ervin Johnson had seven rebounds but didn't

score, and backup Michael Olowokandi -- who picked up his fifth foul

late in the third quarter -- had two points and just one rebound in

11 minutes.

Sprewell's 3-pointer got the Timberwolves within 67-59 with just

under 6{ minutes left in the third quarter, but Minnesota didn't

get another field goal until Garnett hit a layup with 10:53 to go

in the game.

By then, it was too late.

Andre Miller hit two free throws after Sprewell's 3, starting an

11-0 Nuggets run -- capped by Voshon Lenard's 3-pointer from the

corner -- that made it 78-59 with 3:12 to go in the period.

After that, The Timberwolves never got closer than 15.

"It's like we didn't do anything right tonight. We didn't

contain anybody," Garnett said. "We really depended upon our

defense as of late, and if felt like we were out of sync or

something."

Denver never trailed, thanks to 61 percent (11-for-18) shooting

in the first quarter. The Timberwolves missed 14 of their first 17

shots.

But the Nuggets, who went on an 11-0 run in the first period and

led 23-6 with just over 3{ minutes left, couldn't maintain that

pace.

They were just 6-for-23 from the field in the second quarter and

led 54-41 at the half.

Nene finished with 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting for Denver,

after going 4-for-14 from the field in the first two games. Camby

had 12 points and Earl Boykins finished with 10.

Wally Szczerbiak had 11 points for the Timberwolves, who are

seeking their first playoff series win in eight tries. Sam Cassell

added 10 points for Minnesota.

Before Saturday night, the Nuggets hadn't won in the postseason

since beating Utah 94-91 on May 19, 1994, in their former home,

McNichols Arena. That was in the Western Conference semifinals,

also the last time Denver made it out of the first round.Game notes
Two of the Nuggets' three Hall of Famers, David Thompson

and Alex English, attended Saturday night's game. The third, former

player and coach Dan Issel, was invited but could not attend

because of a scheduling conflict. ... Cleveland's LeBron James, the

NBA rookie of the year, was also at the game to support his friend

Anthony. Rocky, the Nuggets' mascot, gave James a replica of

Anthony's No. 15 jersey. ... Minnesota held the Nuggets to an

average of 86.5 points in the first two games but trailed 85-66

after three quarters Saturday night.