for this game

Nuggets test fate in San Antonio

Mar 6, 2015 - 3:43 PM ( - The Denver Nuggets are 2-0 since firing Brian Shaw, but things will get real tough on Friday when they visit the AT&T Center to take on the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

Kenneth Faried finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds to power the Denver Nuggets past the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 100-85 victory on Wednesday.

Will Barton netted 17 points, Danilo Gallinari scored 16 and Jameer Nelson tallied 12 points and nine assists off the bench for the Nuggets, who improved to 2-0 under interim head coach Melvin Hunt and won consecutive games for the first time since mid-January.

"We are having fun and enjoying the game," said Faried. "It seems like everyone is just clicking."

The Nuggets led, 60-43, at the half, but Minnesota came out of the break and scored the first eight points of the second half as a pair of Kevin Garnett jumpers made it a 61-51 game. Gary Neal provided the Timberwolves' final eight points of the third and cut the deficit to 77-65 heading into the final frame.

The Nuggets led by at least nine points over the final 12 minutes.

Denver concludes a brief road trip Friday, then is home for four straight against the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors.

The Spurs have won three in a row, including the final two stops on their annual rodeo trip. San Antonio only went 4-5 on that sojourn, but returned home Wednesday with a 112-85 demolition of the Sacramento Kings.

Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and Tony Parker added 19 to lead the defending champions.

"He looked like he was more aggressive. That's what we have to have from him," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Parker.

Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Marco Belinelli netted 13 points apiece for the Spurs, who have won three in a row on the heels of a four-game losing streak.

The Spurs led 54-38 at the break on Wednesday.

Ginobili's driving layup in the waning seconds of the third staked San Antonio to an 85-61 spread heading into the fourth, where it built its advantage to as many as 40 en route to the easy win.

The Spurs will host the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves on this homestand.

San Antonio has won five in a row over the Nuggets, including three straight in the Alamo City. The Spurs have taken six of the last seven meetings over Denver in San Antonio.