Danilo Gallinari, Chris Kaman, Shawn Marion

Nuggets lose Gallinari, but Iguodala’s game-winner gives them win over Mavericks

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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.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: