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Ollie hits four late foul shots to lift Wolves over Nuggets

Oct 20, 2008 - 1:30 AM BISMARCK, North Dakota (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets' hit-or-miss offense went cold at the wrong time Sunday.

In the final minute of a close showdown, J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza misfired on 3-point attempts and Kevin Ollie answered with four clutch free throws to give the Timberwolves a 111-107 preseason victory over the Nuggets.

The four late foul shots were the only points of the night for Ollie, but they came at just the right time. The Timberwolves (5-1) won their third game in a row and dealt the Nuggets (3-1) their first loss this preseason.

The Nuggets were without All-Star guard Allen Iverson, who is nursing a sore left knee. But they had little trouble putting points on the board even without him. Except, of course, when it counted. Denver managed just one field goal over the last 4:58, staying in contention only because of strong foul shooting.

But the Nuggets played for the dramatic victory down the stretch, and it came back to bite them. Prior to their late misses from the arc, Smith and Kleiza had provided plenty of offense. Smith scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and Kleiza added 13, hitting 11-of-12 from the line, and six boards.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, saw more progress from the young players they've been intent on building their franchise around since dealing Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics last year. Ryan Gomes, a second-round pick in 2005, led all players with 20 points, while Randy Foye - the seventh overall selection in 2006 - collected 12 and 15 assists.

Twenty-three-year-old forward Al Jefferson, who was drafted by the Celtics out of high school four years ago and ranked third in the league in double-doubles last year, chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who played this de facto home game at the Bismarck Civic Center - home of the D-League's Dakota Wizards.

Carmelo Anthony had 15 points and seven assists and Anthony Carter added 17 and seven for the Nuggets.