Lawson, Nuggets hold off Blazers
PORTLAND — Andre Miller scored the go-ahead layup with 24.9 seconds left against his former team and the Denver Nuggets held off the Portland Trail Blazers 111-109 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.
Denver, which led by as many as 12 points in the first half, lost the lead to the Blazers late in the third quarter but reclaimed it when Ty Lawson's layup made it 96-95 with 4:54 left.
After rookie Damian Lillard put the Blazers back up 101-100 with a layup, Andre Iguodala and Lawson gave Denver a 106-101 lead. Wesley Matthews answered with a 3-pointer and LaMarcus Aldridge added a turnaround jumper that tied it at 106 with 33.8 seconds left.
But Miller's scoop under the basket gave the Nuggets back the lead, and Aldridge missed a jumper on the other end with 14 seconds left. Lillard hit on a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left, but the Blazers fell short and Miller, who played for the Blazers from 2009-11, made free throws for the final margin.
Lawson finished with 30 points and Iguodala matched his season high with 29 for the Nuggets, who snapped a six-game losing streak at the Rose Garden.
Lillard led Portland with 26 points and J.J. Hickson had his 31st double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Nuggets were without starter Danilo Gallinari, the team's leading scorer with an average of 16.9 points per game, for the second straight game because of a left thigh bruise. Wilson Chandler started again in his place. Even without Gallinari, the Nuggets defeated the Lakers 119-108 on Monday, their seventh straight win at home. Denver is currently sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
The Blazers were coming off a 92-86 victory over Boston on Sunday night that snapped a season-high seven-game losing streak.
The Blazers went on an 8-0 run capped by Lillard's bank shot to pull within 43-37 midway through the second quarter, but the Nuggets led 58-50 at halftime, paced by Lawson's 16 points.
The Blazers kept threatening in the third quarter, but Denver kept holding them off. After Lillard's 3-pointer got Portland as close a 62-61, Kenneth Faried dunked and made a layup to stem the threat. Nicolas Batum's dunk got the Blazers to 72-70, but Iguodala answered with a 3-pointer.
Rookie Meyers Leonard finally gave Portland lead with a dunk that made it 80-79 with 53 seconds left in the third quarter. For good measure, he dunked again over Miller to extend it.
Leonard, who turned 21 on Wednesday, celebrated by flexing his muscles Incredible Hulk-style. He finished with a career-high 13 points.
Faried tied it at 92 with a dunk, and Lawson's layup gave Denver back the lead at 94-92 with just over six minutes left in the game. Wesley Matthews gave the Blazers back the lead with a 3-pointer, but turnovers hurt Portland.
Knicks 109, Warriors 105
At New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, J.R. Smith hit the tiebreaking shot with 1:10 left, and the New York Knicks overcame Stephen Curry's NBA season-high 54 points to beat the Golden State Warriors.
Curry was 18 of 28 from the field, finishing one shy of the NBA record with 11 3-pointers. The Knicks finally stopped him with 1:28 to play when Raymond Felton blocked his shot with the score tied at 105. That led to a jumper by Smith, who finished with 26 points. Anthony followed with another basket and the Knicks hung on to spoil former Knicks star and Warriors coach Mark Jackson's homecoming.
It was the most points by an NBA player in a loss since Kobe Bryant had 58 in a loss to Charlotte on Dec. 29, 2006
Thunder 119, Hornets 74
At Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant recorded his third career triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder finished a perfect three-game homestand by routing the short-handed New Orleans Hornets.
Durant had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Oklahoma City finished a dominant four-game sweep of the season series against New Orleans, which was without starters Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee). The Thunder led by at least 29 in three of the four meetings this season,
Suns 105, Spurs 101
At San Antonio, Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Wesley Johnson hit a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime and the Phoenix Suns beat San Antonio to snap the Spurs' 18-game home winning streak.
Luis Scola added 15 points and Goran Dragic had 13 points and 13 assists for Phoenix, which ended a six-game losing streak against San Antonio.
Tony Parker had 22 points to lead the Spurs, who had not lost at home since Nov. 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers. San Antonio went 0 for 10 in overtime, its only points in the extra period coming when Parker made 1 of 2 free throws.
Grizzlies 90, Mavericks 84
At Memphis, Tenn., Zach Randolph scored 22 points and Marc Gasol added 21 as the Memphis Grizzlies matched their largest comeback in franchise history, rallying to beat the Dallas Mavericks.
Quincy Pondexter finished with 12 and Austin Daye added 10, all in the first half, for Memphis, which trailed by 25 points in the second quarter but stormed back to win its eighth straight. Gasol had 12 rebounds and Randolph 10 as Memphis outrebounded Dallas 46-34.
The comeback matched a 25-point winning rally at Portland on March 25, 2002.
Cavaliers 103, Raptors 92
At Cleveland, rookie Dion Waiters scored 23 points, Shaun Livingston added 15 and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a horrendous start and playing without injured All-Star Kyrie Irving for the second straight game, beating the Toronto Raptors.
The Cavs made only one of their first 15 shots, but recovered and finished February at 7-5, their first winning month since March 2010, when LeBron James was still around.
Irving sat out with a hyperextended right knee, an injury he sustained in practice.
Pistons 96, Wizards 95
At Washington, Brandon Knight returned from a right knee injury to score a career-high 32 points, Greg Monroe added 26 points and 11 rebounds on the court where he played college home games for Georgetown, Jose Calderon finished with 18 assists, and Detroit escaped with a victory over Washington.
The Pistons have won six games in a row over the Wizards, and 14 of their past 16 meetings. And Wednesday's result represented a reversal of fortunes for both clubs: Detroit had lost three straight games; Washington had won three straight.
Kings 125, Magic 101
At Orlando, Fla., John Salmons had 21 points to lead six players in double-figures and the hot-shooting Sacramento Kings cruised past the Orlando Magic.
The Kings were coming off a double-overtime loss to Miami on Tuesday, but showed few signs of a hangover, knocking down 10 3-pointers. Reserve Marcus Thornton added 20 points.
The win ends a six-game losing streak and snaps a string of nine consecutive road losses. It also marks the Kings' first season sweep of the Magic in nine years.
Bucks 110, Rockets 107
At Houston, Monta Ellis sank an off-balance 3-pointer just before the final buzzer to give the Milwaukee Bucks a victory over the Houston Rockets.
Ellis scored 27 points and handed out 13 assists, Ersan Ilyasova added 20 points and the Bucks won in Houston for the second straight season.
The Bucks went down to the wire again after beating Dallas 95-90 on Tuesday and losing their previous three games by no more than three points. Ellis took a pass from Brandon Jennings and heaved a shot off one foot as time was winding down. The referees watched a replay and ruled that Ellis shot it in time.
Hawks 102, Jazz 91
At Salt Lake City, Al Horford scored 34 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Josh Smith added 24 points 14 rebounds to help the Atlanta Hawks hold off a fourth-quarter rally by the Utah Jazz.
Al Jefferson led Utah with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Derrick Favors had 17 points and 15 rebounds. It wasn't enough to prevent the Jazz from losing their second straight home game and third straight contest overall.
Atlanta took control when the Jazz opened the second half by missing their first eight shots. The Hawks went on a 10-2 run and took a 66-50 lead on a pair of free throws by Horford.