Nuggets 112, Bucks 111
The NBA’s best home team will certainly have an advantage in the
In the first round, at least.
Ty Lawson scored 26 points, including a jumper in the lane with
9.3 seconds left, and the Denver Nuggets clinched home-court
advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 112-111 victory
over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
Wilson Chandler added 21 points for the Nuggets, who are 37-3 at
home and have a 22-game winning streak at home. They can secure the
No. 3 seed in the West with one more victory or two losses by the
Los Angeles Clippers.
”I think it’s huge,” Denver coach George Karl said. ”Don’t
get me wrong. The teams we’re going to play in the first round are
capable of beating us on our home court. I’ve always felt that home
court, if it was an even series, it’s tough for teams to win twice
on your home court. And our home court, I know teams don’t like to
play there. Hopefully mentally they struggle with the thought of
Milwaukee lost its season-high fifth game in a row despite Monta
Ellis scoring 38 points, one shy of his season high. His six
3-pointers were the most he’s had this season, and he didn’t even
attend the morning shootaround because he was sick.
”Now is not the time to throw a pity party,” Ellis said.
Ellis’ four-point play with 14.2 seconds left gave the Bucks a
111-110 lead. Ellis, who had 19 fourth-quarter points, drilled a
3-pointer from the right side and made a free throw after he was
fouled by Evan Fournier.
”He’s been a warrior for us all year,” Milwaukee coach Jim
Boylan said. ”He’s played hurt, sick, he’s done everything. . I
can’t say enough about him, he’s had a great season. Without him I
don’t know where we would be.”
After a timeout, Lawson got the ball in front of Milwaukee’s
bench with Ellis guarding him. Lawson drove to his right and pulled
up in the lane to hit the winning shot.
”I just wanted to (isolate),” Lawson said. ”I passed to
Wilson, got it back, saw a clean side, started pushing real hard
and I knew he was trying to bite and make sure I didn’t get to the
basket. So I kind of stepped back and had all the time in the world
to knock down a shot.”
J.J. Reddick, who contributed 20 points for the Bucks, missed a
3-pointer from the center of the arc as time expired.
Milwaukee, which already had clinched the No. 8 spot in the
East, finished with a 21-20 record at home.
”We were one defensive stop short,” Ellis said. ”J.J. had a
great look at it.”
Forward Kenneth Faried did not play because of the left ankle he
sprained in Denver’s victory over Portland on Sunday.
That didn’t stop the Nuggets (56-25), who added to their
franchise record for victories in a season by winning for the 22nd
time in their last 25 games.
JaVale McGee came off the bench and finished with a season-high
17 rebounds and 10 points for Denver, which closes the regular
season Wednesday when it hosts Phoenix.
Milwaukee is closing the regular season with no momentum at all.
The team has just three victories in its last 15 games and will try
to halt a nine-game road losing streak Wednesday at Oklahoma
”It’d be nice for us to taste a victory,” Boylan said.
John Henson had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, who
lost their fifth straight game to Denver.
Milwaukee held a one-point lead with about 1 minute left when
Ersan Ilyasova grabbed a rebound off a missed shot by Andre Miller,
but he lost the ball out of bounds.
Denver capitalized with a basket by Andre Iguodala for a 108-107
lead with 52 seconds remaining.
Mike Dunleavy missed a shot and Miller’s two free throws gave
the Nuggets a 110-107 lead with 25.4 seconds left.
Earlier in the quarter, Denver held a 98-92 lead when Ellis
scored eight points in a row. He drilled a 3-pointer, a jump shot
and then another 3-pointer to give Milwaukee a 100-98 lead with
4:30 to go.
A slam dunk along the baseline by Ekpe Udoh with 9:20 left gave
Milwaukee an 87-86 lead, its first since early in the first
NOTES: Milwaukee gave up a season-high 46 free-throw attempts;
Denver made 32 of them. . Ellis recorded his ninth 30-point game of
the season. . The Nuggets finished with a 19-22 mark on the road. .
An MRI exam Monday morning showed that Faried sprained a ligament.
Faried, who averages 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, also
will miss the final game of the regular season and will be listed
as day-to-day for the playoffs. . Center Larry Sanders missed his
third game in a row for the Bucks with a sore lower back.