DENVER - Ty Lawson made his first 10 3-pointers Saturday night and scored a career-high 37 points in leading the short-handed Denver Nuggets to a 130-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Lawson, who was banged up from Denver’s rough-and-tumble loss at Oklahoma City the night before, didn’t score until sinking a pair of free throws at the 6-minute mark of the second quarter.
He then hit 10 of 11 from beyond the arc, including six during a 9-minute stretch spanning halftime that turned a tight game (41-39) into a laugher.
“I just got hot,” Lawson said before walking off the court.
He sank two more 3-pointers during a 10-0 spurt that made it 92-62 late in the third quarter. After Lawson’s ninth 3, the public address announcer simply said, “Wow.”
Next time downcourt, Lawson did it again, making it 100-66.
Lawson missed a running 28-foot heave, though, as the third quarter ended with Denver ahead 101-69.
Had he not tried the buzzer-beater and finished 10-for-10, it would have been an NBA record for most 3-point conversions without a miss. Latrell Sprewell went 9-for-9 from behind the arc for the New York Knicks in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003.
Lawson did manage to outscore the Timberwolves by himself, 24-18, in the third quarter.
Denver’s 19 3-pointers in 38 attempts was a franchise record. J.R. Smith (18 points) was 6-for-12 from 3-point range.
“We just found our rhythm,” Lawson said.
Lawson’s previous career high was 28 points, set just five nights earlier in a loss to Oklahoma City.
“I’m celebrating this one,” Lawson said.
The Nuggets improved to 17-6 since trading away All-Star Carmelo Anthony, although two of those losses came in a four-day span against the Thunder, including a 104-89 loss Friday night at Oklahoma City.
Injury bug plagues Denver: Danilo Gallinari left Denver’s game against Minnesota after spraining his right ankle in the first quarter Saturday. Gallinari went out with 1:06 left and was replaced by Gary Forbes. The Nuggets said they didn’t know if Gallinari would return to action. The Nuggets have been hit by a rash of injuries. Arron Afflalo missed his 11th game out of 15 with a strained left hamstring, and center Timofey Mozgov sat out with sprains to his left knee and left ankle. Also, forward Wilson Chandler was held out as a precaution as he deals with a troublesome left ankle.