Andre Iguodala’s driving layup with under three seconds remaining gave the Nuggets their 19th consecutive home victory on Thursday, 95-94 over a Mavericks team that had plenty of chances.
The win was a good one for Denver, considering the circumstances.
The Nuggets, already without starting point guard Ty Lawson due to a plantar fascia injury, lost Danilo Gallinari late in the second quarter to what appeared to be a very serious knee injury.
Gallinari did not return, and an MRI is scheduled for Friday, although preliminary reports say that the fear is that it may be a torn ACL.
Denver pressed on without him, getting a season-high 22 points from Andre Miller, and a team-high 23 points from Corey Brewer who played almost 34 minutes off the bench. Brewer also had three big plays down the stretch to help secure the victory, including a steal, an offensive rebound, and a block on Anthony Morrow’s three-point attempt as time expired.
Dallas led by eight early in the fourth, which won’t make the loss to the shorthanded Nuggets any easier to swallow.
The situation for the Mavericks is dire now in terms of the team’s fading hopes at sneaking into the postseason. Dallas ends the night in 10th place in the West, a game and a half back of Utah and three games behind the Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot with only seven games left in the regular season.
It was a more than solid win for Denver, but the potential loss of Gallinari for the remainder of the year, combined with the uncertainty of Lawson’s availability, is going to dramatically affect the team’s postseason chances.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.