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Nuggets extend home win streak but fear Gallinari lost to ACL

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets pulled out a nail-biting win and a costly one, too on Thursday night

Andre Iguodala scored on a driving layup with 2.8 seconds left, and the Nuggets rallied to beat the Dallas Mavericks 95-94 extending their home win streak to 19, the second longest in franchise history.The longest of 20 straight was set Jan. 9-March 30, 1985.

Corey Brewer had 23 points and Andre Miller scored 22 for the Nuggets, who held onto the third spot in the Western Conference.

It might be tough to stay there in the final six games after forward Danilo Gallinari was lost to a left knee injury in the first half.

Gallinari's left knee buckled as he drove the lane with 4:27 left in the second quarter. He fell to the floor and grabbed his knee in pain before being helped off the court by teammates Timofey Mozgov and Quincy Miller.

Gallinari will have an MRI on Friday morning, but there was talk after the game that Gallinari had torn an ACL.

The Denver Post reported that Gallinari "heard a pop" when his knee buckled and that "Gallo thinks it's a torn ACL."

"I can't deny, it didn't look good," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I usually look at the player's face. He was scared. But I've had ones look bad and (the MRI) turned out to be OK. Nene went down a couple of years ago and it was just a sprain."

Gallinari couldn't put weight on the leg and was carried to a wheelchair in one of the tunnels off the court. It was a scary sight or a team that has gone 35-7 since Jan. 1 and started thinking about a deep postseason run.

"It was tough. You never want to see a guy go down, especially a guy like Gallo who's so important to us," Brewer said. "It's going to be tough on us but we have to fight through it."

Brewer provided the spark for at least one night. He grabbed a big rebound with 9.8 seconds left and had a game-saving block at the horn to preserve the win.

"Brewer played great," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "He hit timely shots all night and had a great game for them."

Early on it looked like Gallinari's injury had an impact on the Nuggets. While they rallied to tie the game at halftime, Dallas controlled the third and took a 77-70 lead into the fourth.

The Nuggets came back to tie the game at 86 on Iguodala's 3-pointer with 4:39 left. The Mavericks led 94-93 in the final minute when Dirk Nowitzki blocked Iguodala's layup attempt with 35 seconds left.

Brewer stole the ball from Nowitzki and Kenneth Faried was fouled with 10.8 seconds left. He missed both free throws but Brewer snuck in and got the rebound, setting up Iguodala's drive at the end.

"Andre (Miller) takes the whole right side out, so I went right behind him and the ball came right to me, so it was a lucky guess," Brewer said.

The Mavericks had one last chance but Brewer blocked Anthony Morrow's shot at the buzzer.

The loss was a blow to Dallas' playoff chances. The Mavericks fell 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We gave it away," forward Shawn Marion said. "We had our chances to win this game and close it out."

Brandon Wright led Dallas with 16 points and Nowitzki and Chris Kaman had 13 each.

If Gallinari does have a torn ACL, the Nuggets will be without their top two scorers for the stretch run of the season -- and possibly the playoffs. Leading scorer Ty Lawson has missed six of the last seven games with a strained right heel/torn plantar fascia and isn't expected back for at least another week.

NOTES: The Nuggets tied their best home stretch since winning 19 straight Jan. 28-April 20, 1989. ... Mavericks forward Elton Brand was out with a sore right calf. He first injured it against Indiana on March 28 but played in the next two games. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Brand is day to day. ... Miller doesn't play as fast as Lawson, but he keeps his team playing at an up-tempo pace because of his court vision and playmaking ability. Carlisle is impressed with the way Miller runs the team. "Look at the last couple of games, they're still putting up astronomic numbers. (Evan) Fournier stepped in, he's had two career games, so they haven't missed a beat. And you know what Andre Miller is perceived to lack in speed, he makes up for in vision and just the ability to throw the ball ahead. There's nobody in this league that can run faster than his passes get thrown up the floor." ... Faried was sporting neon green shoes and center JaVale McGee had green wrappings on his calves during NBA's Green Week.
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