Carmelo Anthony is developing a reputation as one of the NBA’s top clutch players.
Anthony can help the Nuggets clinch at least a tie for the Northwest Division title when they take on the struggling Golden State Warriors.
The Nuggets have a magic number of two to clinch their first division title since 1987-88. They can clinch Saturday with a victory and a loss by Utah, which meets Portland.
Anthony notched his fifth game-winning basket of the season with a jumper with 3.8 seconds left in overtime in a 110-108 victory Thursday over the Los Angeles Lakers. He has eight game-winning shots in his career, just three shy of what Michael Jordan did in his entire 15-year career.
“I live for stuff like that, getting the ball in the last seconds,” Anthony said. “Whether I make the shot or miss it, I would rather put that pressure on me.”
Anthony is now 10-for-15 in shots to win or tie in the final 10 seconds for his career.
“It just seems like he has a cockiness and confidence to make shots,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “In my career, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a guy make as many shots when it counts.”
Mostly due to Anthony’s heroics, Denver has won nine of its last 11 games decided by three points or less.
Denver and Golden State have split a pair of high-scoring games this season. The teams combined to shoot 71.5 percent (30-for-42) in the first quarter in the Nuggets’ 118-112 victory on Dec. 27.
The Warriors evened the series with a 122-114 victory on Feb. 6 by placing six players in double figures. Jason Richardson led the way with 28 points.
Martin sat out the last game due to nagging knee tendinitis and his status is uncertain for this contest.
The Warriors have shot well on 3-pointers against the Nuggets this season, connecting on 52.5 percent (21-of-40).
Golden State suffered a season-high seventh straight loss, 100-93 to Houston on Friday. Richardson scored 29 points for the Warriors, who were outscored, 27-17 in the fourth quarter.
“The whole season has been frustrating,” Richardson said. “We’re not supposed to be losing the way we’re losing.”
Warriors guard Baron Davis has missed the last 12 games with a right ankle sprain.