Given the way the Nuggets' season started — with a three-game losing streak and desultory play — this is at least a semi-significant step. For the first time this season, and first time under coach Brian Shaw, the Nuggets are a .500 team after their 117-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

After all, this is a franchise that has succeeded in working fans into a celebratory frenzy over having the right to buy four tacos and a mandatory large soft drink for about $3 on the afternoon after games in which the Nuggets score 110 points or more. Compared with that, improved play on the floor since the first-week struggles truly is a big deal, right?

"We got another win and we have a three-game win streak now, and I want the guys to like this feeling of winning," Shaw said. "The fact that we're 4-4 now after a three-game win streak just means we didn't start out the way we wanted to start out and put ourselves in a hole."
Ty Lawson (14 points, 10 assists), Kenneth Faried (16 points, 10 rebounds) and J.J. Hickson (12 points, 11 rebounds) finished with double-doubles for the Nuggets, who head on the road for games against Houston on Saturday and Oklahoma City on Monday.

Wilson Chandler, coming off the bench in his second game of the season, contributed a team-high 19 points — he was 3-for-4 on 3-pointers — in 22 minutes.

One negative was that the Nuggets, leading by 13 points with 3:55 left, saw that margin dwindle to 115-113 with 18.9 seconds remaining on a 3-pointer by Minnesota's Kevin Love — who had a game-high 28 points — before managing to hang on. The other was that Lawson was poked in the eye by former teammate Corey Brewer in the final minute, had to leave the game for good and afterward, his right eye was swollen nearly closed.