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.
I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball
On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:
He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.
On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:
We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.
Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.
But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.
We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?