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.
Former Kings players DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes reach out to pay for funeral of Stephon Clark
Whatever Kings fans thought of DeMarcus Cousins on the court — it was a divisive topic with changing opinions over time — he was fully committed to the city of Sacramento. He was all in.
Still is, despite playing for New Orleans. Cousins and another former King, Matt Barnes (a Sacramento native), have reached out to the family of Stephon Clark — the unarmed young black man shot by Sacramento police in his grandmother’s backyard a week ago — and offered to pay for the funeral, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
Clark’s shooting has sparked protests throughout Sacramento, including blocking entrance to a Kings game on Thursday night. According to reports and the Sacramento PD’s own account, the shooting occurred when police were looking for a car burglary suspect and officers had tracked the suspect through yards, then confronted Clark in the backyard of his grandmother’s house, where he lived. Police allegedly thought he was armed and shot him 20 times, but he was holding only a cellphone.
The shooting has sparked reactions around the nation and from NBA players, including Barnes.
One of the factors to consider in the Rookie of the Year race: clutch plays.
Down three with less than 10 seconds to go Friday night, the Utah Jazz put the ball in the hands of their rookie playmaker Donovan Mitchell — and he made the play, draining a three to force overtime. It’s an impressive play.
In the clutch this season (last five minutes of a game, within five points), Mitchell has averaged 3.2 shots per contest (by far the most of any rookie) and has a true shooting percentage of 51 percent. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, the other front-runner in the ROY race, averages less than a shot per game in those clutch situations (0.8) and has a true shooting percentage of 66.7 percent.
Mitchell made the big shot, but the Spurs made plenty too, had 45 points on the night from LaMarcus Aldridge, and got the win.
PBT Extra: Who is coming out of the Eastern Conference?
The Toronto Raptors will finish with the No. 1 seed and all the best metrics in the East, but they have a history of playoff flameouts. The Boston Celtics’ have been hit hard by injuries. And the Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James but also a dreadful defense, this is the most vulnerable a LeBron led team has been since he bolted Cleveland seven years ago.
So what team is coming out of the East?
We get into that in this latest PBT Extra. A poll on Twitter found most of you think the Cavaliers, but personally, I think the Raptors — who have been better defensively all season than the Cavs — may finally have their year.
LaMarcus Aldridge drops career-high 45 points, Spurs beat Jazz in OT
SAN ANTONIO (AP) —LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 45 points, helping San Antonio overcome Donovan Mitchell‘s 35-point performance for Utah in the Spurs’ 124-120 overtime victory over the Jazz on Friday night.
The Spurs won their sixth straight and beat the Jazz for the first time in four meetings this season.
Utah’s 12-game road winning streak came to an end, but only after Mitchell had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to force overtime.
San Antonio remained sixth in the Western Conference with the same record as fifth-place New Orleans, a half-game behind Oklahoma City for fourth. Utah remained eighth in the West.
After free throws by Spurs guards Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills and a dunk by Jazz center Rudy Gobert put San Antonio up 114-111, Mitchell drained his third 3-pointer of the fourth with 3.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Mills, who finished with 23 points, had six points in overtime as the Spurs capped an undefeated six-game homestand.
Aldridge averaged 32.2 points and 9.0 rebounds during the winning streak, including two double-doubles.
Aldridge scored 28 points in the first half on 12-for-16 shooting, including a 3-pointer.
Utah missed its first six shots and was 4 for 14 as San Antonio grabbed a 19-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Mitchell settled the Jazz, scoring six points to cut the Spurs lead to 29-21 heading into the second quarter.
Mitchell was 14-for-35 shooting while falling six points shy of his season-high.