Nuggets top Bucks behind Chandler's late surge

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Faced with another improbable loss to an underachieving team, forward Wilson Chandler put the Denver Nuggets on his back and took them to the finish line.

Chandler scored 24 points, and guard Randy Foye had 20 points and a career-high four blocked shots as the Nuggets held on to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100 Wednesday.

Center J.J. Hickson scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and guard Ty Lawson added 18 points and 13 assists for the Nuggets, who avoided another loss to a lesser team.

"We continue to not learn from the mistakes that we make over and over again," Denver coach Brian Shaw said. "But in this case, we are still happy to come away with a win."

Milwaukee center Larry Sanders scored a season-high 25 points and grabbed a season-best 15 rebounds. Forward Khris Middleton and also scored 25 points for Bucks, who fell to 2-16 in 2014.

Milwaukee (9-40) has not won two straight this season, a stat the players wanted to erase Wednesday.

"We wanted to win a second in a row," Sanders said. "We didn't adjust to the atmosphere. That is not an excuse."

Both teams were coming off thrilling finishes Monday night. Guard Brandon Knight's 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left gave the Bucks a 101-98 win over New York.

Foye hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Denver over the Los Angeles Clippers, 116-115.

Shaw said after that game a loss to Milwaukee would wipe out the win over the Clippers. The Nuggets (24-23) have struggled against sub-.500 teams, losing home games to the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats.

For a half, it looked as if the lowly Bucks would join that list. They led 57-53 early in the third quarter before the Nuggets answered. Five straight points by Lawson got Denver going, and two three-point plays by forward Kenneth Faried and a dunk and layup by Hickson made it 77-65 Nuggets with 4:10 remaining in the third.

Milwaukee got within nine, but Foye hit a 3-pointer -- his fifth of the game -- and two free throws to give the Nuggets an 82-70 lead heading into the fourth.

Forward Quincy Miller hit a bucket and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 18 in the first 1:05 of the fourth.

Milwaukee had only nine available players to start the game and lost guard Luke Ridnour to back tightness in the second quarter. In the third, Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova suffered a back injury, and he didn't play in the fourth quarter.

"We kind of ran out of bodies," Bucks coach Larry Drew said.

They had enough to make a last push, going on a 17-5 run to cut the deficit to 99-96 with 2:13 remaining.

"It would have been a sad day had we lost this one, especially when Milwaukee was down (18) and on the road," Lawson said.

Chandler hit a layup and jumper around a Sanders miss to give Denver a seven-point lead with 90 seconds left.

Chandler scored seven points in the final 1:52.

"We didn't play to the best to our ability, but we won the game," Chandler said. "You figure a team like that would give up, but give them credit, they kept fighting and made it a game."

Sanders shook off an early technical that seemed to ignite the Nuggets, and he scored 15 points in the first half. He had four rebounds and four points in the last 3:46 of the second quarter to help the Bucks erase an eight-point deficit and take a 52-51 lead at intermission.

Lawson had 10 assists on Denver's first 14 made baskets.

NOTES: Milwaukee G Gary Neal did not play because of back spasms. Bucks G Nate Wolters missed the shootaround because of an illness but was able to start. He scored four points in 28 minutes. ... Nuggets G Ty Lawson played a season-high 44:47 Monday in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers. It was his first game back after missing two with a strained left rotator cuff. ... Bucks C John Henson returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right wrist. ... The Nuggets did not conduct a shootaround Wednesday because of the extremely cold temperatures and an extended team event Tuesday. Instead, the players arrived at Pepsi Center an hour early to have a walkthrough. ... Bucks F Caron Butler (sprained left ankle) did not make the trip.
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