DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets went Hollywood to pull out a dramatic victory in their playoff opener.
With the game tied at 95 on a Stephen Curry clutch 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds left, the young Nuggets huddled up looking for a hero. Like a scene out of "Hoosiers," they turned to veteran Andre Miller.
"Coach (George Karl) is going through all of the plays and we were all looking at each other," Corey Brewer said. "Andre was hot, we were kind of like, 'Why don't we just get out of the way and let Andre have the ball.' That's what happened."
Miller got the ball up top and put his teammates on his shoulders. His driving layup with 1.2 seconds left gave the Nuggets a thrilling 97-95 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Saturday.
Miller finished with a playoff career-high 28 points, 18 in the fourth quarter.
"I never hit a game-winning shot," Miller said. "Never. I've taken a couple and missed or turned the ball over. But that was big for a first playoff game."
Game 2 is Tuesday in Denver.
Klay Thompson had 22 points and Curry added 19 for the Warriors, who lost forward David Lee to a right hip injury in the fourth quarter.
Curry, who set an NBA record for made 3-pointers this season, tied it with a 3-pointer from the corner before Miller went to work. He got the ball at the top of the key and drove past rookie Draymond Green to give the Nuggets the win.
"A very crafty guy," said Green, who was pressed into action when Lee went down. "I thought I was in front of him and he made one slithery move and just got a half a step on me and that's all he needed to finish the shot."
Miller was mobbed by his teammates near halfcourt after the Warriors' desperation heave fell short.
"It felt good," Miller said. "I don't think both teams wanted to go to overtime after that type game. There was a lot of energy and both teams were tired."
And now both teams are a little more banged up. Lee hurt his hip when he was fouled by JaVale McGee on a drive to the basket 26 seconds into the fourth quarter. He suffered a hip flexor strain and his status will be determined Sunday.
He had 10 points and 14 rebounds before leaving.
"It's unfortunate," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "He's certainly a highlighted guy for us, somebody we count on."
The series is expected to be a throwback to the high-scoring days of the NBA. Denver led the league in scoring and the Warriors were seventh, but both teams struggled offensively for long stretches.
It turned into a traditional grind-it-out postseason game, and the Nuggets made enough plays to pull it out and keep their home-court magic alive.
"It was a better defensive (game) than I predicted," forward Wilson Chandler said. "We missed a lot of shots we normally would make but we made up for it on defense."
The Nuggets finished the season having won 23 straight at Pepsi Center and finished an NBA-best 38-3 at home.
A 24th straight win seemed inevitable when they led 89-81 with 4:41 left but the Warriors rallied. Thompson hit a 3-pointer, Andrew Bogut had four points and Green's put-back cut it to three. Jarrett Jack hit two free throws, and after Miller missed a short jumper, the Warriors had the ball with 44 seconds left and down 93-92.
But Ty Lawson stole the ball from Curry and hit a layup with 35 seconds left to put Denver ahead three, setting up the final sequence.
Lawson finished with 12 points but was 6-for-15 from the field after chasing Curry for most of the game.
"I was coming off screens just trying to be right there and it took a lot out of me," he said. "Andre and I weren't fighting over the ball, we were fighting to give each other the ball."
Denver seemed in control when Miller hit a 3-pointer to make it 74-65. But the Warriors rallied to tie it at 81 on Curry's fast-break basket with 7:13 left.
Curry was just 1-for-10 in the first half but his one field goal was a 3-pointer that gave the Warriors a 48-39 lead with 1:20 left in the second quarter.
Denver scored the last five points of the half to cut Golden State's lead to 48-44 at the break.
Neither team shot well in the first half, and Denver struggled mightily in the second quarter. The Nuggets were 5-for-19 in the period with six turnovers and during one stretch missed six shots and had three turnovers.
NOTES: Bogut played in just 32 games for Golden State this season. Most of those were at the start of the season when he was rehabbing a left ankle injury. He missed two games last week because of a bruise in the same ankle. ... The Nuggets try to use the altitude to their advantage, but coach George Karl says their depth is as much a factor as the thin air. "If we were playing at sea level we have the depth to still wear people out," he said. "Throw in the aggressive nature we'll play with (in this series) and have played with most of the season. The speed of the game and maybe altitude is the fourth or fifth priority." ... Andris Biedrens was active after missing the last two games of the regular season with lower back tightness. ... The coaches in this series have cross connections. Mark Jackson played 52 games for Denver in 1996-97 while Karl coached the Warriors in 1986-88 before being fired 64 games into his second season.