Ty Lawson contributed 19 points off the bench and Arron Afflalo scored 17 for the Nuggets, who got a trio of key three-pointers from Billups in the final quarter for their seventh win in a row in Minneapolis.
Michael Beasley scored 33 to lead Minnesota. Kevin Love added 26 points and 14 rebounds and Luke Ridnour scored 20, but the Timberwolves failed in their attempt to win three games in a row for the first time this season.
Denver expects to have Carmelo Anthony back on Thursday. The star forward has missed the team’s last five games to be with his family following the death of his sister last week.
The Nuggets went 2-3 in his absence, winning their last two, but they were also without key contributors Nene and Kenyon Martin on Wednesday.
“With us not having our bigs, we were going to be hurting. So we had to have a couple of guys step up big,” said Billups. “That’s exactly what happened.”
No. 1 on that list was Billups, who hit a trio of back-breaking three-pointers in the fourth quarter. He also hit four straight free throws down the stretch to ice the win.
“He’s the one that kept them in the game,” said Martell Webster, who scored 17 points off the bench for Minnesota and was victimized on a couple of Billups’ threes.
“I should have stayed a little closer to him,” Webster said. “I’m kicking myself for that.”
Minnesota started the fourth quarter with an 83-82 lead and went ahead by five, but the Nuggets rallied to take the lead. And Billups made sure they kept it.
His first three gave Denver a 98-90 advantage midway through the quarter and the second one made it 105-101. Ridnour made two free throws and Beasley hit a bank shot to tie the game, but Billups’ three with 2:56 remaining put the Nuggets in front for good.
Billups made every shot he took in the quarter — including all six free throws — to make sure Denver continued its dominance in Minneapolis.
The Nuggets, in addition to winning their last seven in the city, have taken 21 of the past 27 meetings overall.
“When they don’t have that normal starting unit, they still come in here and get the W,” Webster said.
Minnesota’s two-game winning streak came on the heels of a seven-game slide…The Timberwolves held a 30-23 lead after the first quarter and 59-63 at halftime.