for this game

McHale, Timberwolves still trying to end drought

Dec 10, 2008 - 11:37 AM Minnesota (4-16) at Denver (14-7) 9:00 p.m. EST

DENVER (Ticker) -- A new coach did little to end the Minnesota Timberwolves' futility.

Kevin McHale tries to earn his first win since taking over as coach and end the Timberwolves' six-game losing streak when his team hosts the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Off to an abysmal 4-15 start, Minnesota fired head coach Randy Wittman on Monday and replaced him with McHale, who was demoted from his long-time role as the team's vice president of basketball operations.

McHale, who posted a 19-12 record as interim coach of the Timberwolves after taking over for the fired Flip Saunders in February 2005, was close to earning a win during his debut on Tuesday, but Minnesota failed to hold on in the closing seconds, suffering a 99-96 setback to the Utah Jazz.

Randy Foye made a pair of free throws with 7.8 seconds to go to give the Timberwolves a 96-95 lead. It looked like that might be enough to make McHale a winner, but Mehmet Okur hit a 12-foot jumper off one foot with 1.1 seconds to play, giving the Jazz the lead for good.

After having a three-game win streak stopped during an embarrassing 17-point home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, the Nuggets bounced back in their last game.

Chauncey Billups scored 24 points as Denver posted a 118-85 rout against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

Nene powered his way inside for 16 points, including five dunks, and picked up five steals and three blocks to lead a swarming Nuggets defense that held the Kings to 29 percent shooting (29-of-99).