NBA playoffs: Miller's first winning shot lets Nuggets edge Warriors

2013-04-21T00:00:00Z NBA playoffs: Miller's first winning shot lets Nuggets edge WarriorsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

DENVER - Andre Miller filled a gaping hole in his basketball résumé Saturday.

"I've never hit a game-winning shot," the 37-year-old guard said after sinking a nifty layup with just over a second left that gave the Denver Nuggets a 97-95 win over the Golden State Warriors in their playoff opener.

Not in high school. Not in college. Not in his 13 NBA seasons.

"Never," Miller repeated. "I've taken a couple and missed or turned the ball over. But that was big for a first playoff game."

With the youthful Nuggets in danger of losing at home for the first time in more than three months, Miller stepped up and scored 18 of his playoff career-high 28 points in the frenetic fourth quarter that made up for a plodding start to this much-anticipated series between two of the NBA's highest-octane teams.

The sixth-seeded Warriors trailed 93-92 when Stephen Curry was pick-pocketed by Ty Lawson, whose layup made it a three-point game with 35 seconds remaining.

Curry, who shot his way into NBA history by sinking a record 272 three-pointers this season, got a whistling pass from Jarrett Jack in the left corner and swished a contested three with Lawson all over him and 14 seconds left.

"That's a tough shot," Lawson said. "He pumped-faked, I still contested it and he knocked it down. That's what he does."

With the game tied at 95, Denver called timeout and coach George Karl started going through the options.

"We were all looking at each other. Andre was hot, we were kind of like, 'Why don't we just get out of the way and let Andre have the ball,' " Corey Brewer said. "That's what happened. He had Draymond Green on him and we kind of like those odds."

And for once, a game-winner fluttered through the net for Miller.

The Warriors had no timeouts left, so they inbounded the ball and Curry's desperation shot wasn't close as the horn sounded and the Nuggets swarmed Miller.

Game 2 is Tuesday at the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets posted an NBA-best 38-3 home season record and have a franchise-best 24-game winning streak.

• Knicks 85, Celtics 78: In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points, and the Knicks won their playoff opener.

After knocking the Celtics from the top of the Atlantic Division, the Knicks took the first step to knocking them out of the playoffs by holding Boston to three baskets and eight points in the final period.

Anthony, the NBA's scoring leader, shot only 13 for 29 from the field but scored eight points in the fourth quarter, including consecutive baskets late in the period that finally gave the Knicks breathing room in a tight game.

Game 2 is Tuesday night before the Celtics host Game 3 on Friday in what will be their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.

Jeff Green scored 26 points and Paul Pierce added 21 for the Celtics, who badly missed injured point guard Rajon Rondo, committing 21 turnovers that led to 20 points.

• Clippers 112, Grizzlies 91: In Los Angeles, Chris Paul led seven players in double figures with 23 points, Eric Bledsoe had 15 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Memphis while getting just one dunk in their playoff opener.

Chauncey Billups scored 14 points, and Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford had 13 apiece on a night when Blake Griffin was held to 10 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 3:32 left as Lob City was grounded.

Reserve Jerryd Bayless, a former UA Wildcat, led the Grizzlies with 19 points. Zach Randolph had 13 points and four rebounds while playing with five fouls in the rematch of last year's first-round series, won by the Clippers in seven games. Bayless was one of four Grizzlies with four fouls.

Griffin missed a dunk in the first quarter, and DeAndre Jordan's driving one-handed slam midway through the fourth was the Clippers' first. Game 2 is Monday at Staples Center.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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