DENVER (AP) — Just keep shooting those 3s, Raymond Felton implored Ty Lawson.
Except for that last one.
Lawson made his first 10 3-pointers Saturday night on his way to a career-high 37 points in leading the short-handed Denver Nuggets to a 130-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Lawson became the first player in NBA history to start a game with 10 straight 3-point conversions but missed out on another record by finally missing from behind the arc.
“Keep shooting,” Felton recounted telling Lawson. “A guy’s hot like that, you’ve got to feed him the ball. That’s why I just took over the point, told him to go down the court, you can run the 2, come off all these screens, just set up, we’ll find you.
“I love it. Raining 3s like that, it’s fun to watch.”
Lawson missed a running 28-foot heave, though, as the third quarter ended with Denver ahead 101-69, finishing 10 for 11 from behind the arc.
“I told him not to,” Felton said. “Don’t shoot not crazy shot over there. But he wasn’t aware, though.”
Lawson had no idea that had he just stopped shooting 3s, he’d have been in the NBA record books for most 3-point conversions without a miss. Latrell Sprewell went 9 for 9 from behind the arc for the New York Knicks in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003.
“Every time I threw it, it went in, except for that last one,” Lawson said. “Even that last one I missed, I thought that one was going in.”
Felton knew it wouldn’t, that’s why he implored him not to try it.
“Naw, for what?” Felton said. “He was 10 for 10. Not that one, no.”
“Well, the crowd was like, ‘Shoot it!”‘ Lawson said. “So, I didn’t want to disappoint the fans, so I shot it anyway.”
Lawson wasn’t about to lament his one miss and let it diminish his big night, though.
“Oh, not at all,” he said.
Those around him sure felt bad for him.
“Nobody let him know,” Kenyon Martin said. “Nobody told him that was the record. We’ve all got to take responsibility for that.”
“I just wish he was 10 for 10,” his coach, George Karl said.
Sore from Denver’s rough-and-tumble loss at Oklahoma City one night before, Lawson gave no inkling this would be a special night. He didn’t score until sinking a pair of free throws at the 6-minute mark of the second quarter.
He then sank a half-dozen 3s during a 9-minute stretch spanning halftime that turned a tight game (41-39) into a laugher.
“It was a show,” Karl agreed. “It was fun being a part of. I’m sure the fans enjoyed it. I thought Raymond did a great job of finding him. As much as Ty made the shots I thought Raymond’s floor game was about as good as it’s been since he came here.”
Felton, who joined the Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade, had 11 points and 14 assists.
But this was Lawson’s night to shine.
“I’ve seen him take over a game before but I’ve never seen him do it like that from the three-point line,” said Timberwolves guard Wayne Ellington, a former teammate of Lawson’s at North Carolina. “It was just one of those things where a guy gets in a zone. It’s hard to stop that.”
Lawson outscored the Timberwolves by himself, 24-18, in the third quarter.
“Ty works on his shot a lot,” said J.R. Smith, who holds the franchise record with 11 3-pointers (in 18 attempts) in a game against Sacramento in 2009. “After practice, he’s always out there shooting 3-point shots because a lot of people go under him on the pick-and-rolls, and I tell him all the time, that’s disrespectful, if somebody goes under you on a pick-and-roll, you’re supposed to make them pay.
“He’s been working on it and it really showed tonight.”
Smith was 6 for 12 from 3-point range himself for 18 points, and Denver’s 19 3-pointers in 38 attempts was a franchise record.
Lawson’s previous career high was 28 points, set just five nights earlier against Oklahoma City.
“I’ve never seen that, especially from Ty,” Minnesota forward Michael Beasley said. “He’s never been known to be a shooter. And the way he was shooting and the distance he was shooting, he was just hot.”
The Nuggets improved to 17-6 since trading Anthony.
Karl said before the game his deck was even lighter than usual with forward Wilson Chandler (ankle) joining forward Arron Afflalo (hamstring) and centers Timofey Mozgov (knee, ankle) and Chris “Birdman” Andersen (ankle) on the sideline.
It didn’t take long for guard Danilo Gallinari to join them.
He sprained his right ankle with 1:06 left in the first quarter and didn’t return. X-rays were negative and the Nuggets said Gallinari was day-to-day.
Martell Webster and Lazar Hayward led the Timberwolves with 15 points each. Minnesota was without injured All-Star Kevin Love (groin) and center Darko Milicic (left ankle) again.
Denver, the NBA’s top-scoring team with a 107-point average, had been held below 100 in four of its last five games before breaking out against the T-Wolves.
The Nuggets took control with a 17-2 run in the second quarter and led 65-51 at halftime. They increased the advantage to 35 in the second half as they coasted to their 49th win.
NOTES: Nene missed all eight of his free throws, all in the first half, but he was 5 for 5 from the floor for 10 points. … Lawson also tied his career high with seven rebounds.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)