Guard Andre Miller scored a playoff career-high 28 points, including a layup with 1.3 seconds left, to lead host Denver past Golden State 97-95 in the opener of their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series.
DENVER — Andre Miller scored a playoff career-high 28 points and sank an impressive layup with 1.3 seconds left that lifted the Denver Nuggets to a 97-95 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
Miller drove left past rookie Draymond Green, did an up-and-under between two defenders under the basket and banked the ball off the glass with his right hand.
The Warriors inbounded the ball and Stephen Curry’s desperation three-pointer wasn’t close as the horn sounded and the Nuggets celebrated their 24th straight victory at the Pepsi Center.
Miller, a 37-year-old guard, scored 18 points in the frenetic fourth quarter.
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“I’ve never hit a game-winning shot,” he said, including high-school and college games.
“Never,” Miller added. “I’ve taken a couple and missed or turned the ball over. But that was big for a first playoff game.”
Game 2 in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series is Tuesday at the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets posted a league-best 38-3 home record during the season.
“It could have went either way tonight, so we have to be better prepared on Tuesday,” Miller said.
The Warriors trailed 93-92 when Ty Lawson stole the ball from Curry and went in for a layup to give Denver a three-point lead. Curry, who had a league-record 272 three-point baskets during the regular season, made a contested three over Lawson’s tight defense to tie the score and there was a timeout with 14.5 seconds left.
Miller inbounded the ball, got it back and isolated on Green until driving to the hoop for the decisive bucket.
The sixth-seeded Warriors, playing in their first playoff game in six seasons, lost All-Star forward David Lee to a possible right hip-flexor strain in the fourth quarter when he banged into JaVale McGee. Lee shot both free throws, then couldn’t run back downcourt and was taken for X-rays.
Lee finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Klay Thompson, a former Washington State standout, led Golden State with 22 points and Curry had 19.
Denver coach George Karl, a former Sonics coach, admitted he was a bundle of nerves before the game.
“I’m nervous for summer-league games, so why wouldn’t I be nervous for this game?” he asked.
Knicks to victory
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points and the New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 85-78 in the opener of their East first-round series.
The Knicks limited Boston to three baskets and eight points in the fourth quarter.
Game 2 is Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden before the Celtics host Game 3 Friday in what will be their first home game since Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to know that we got our first win of the series here on our home court, took care of that business,” Anthony said.
Ex-Sonic Jeff Green scored 26 points and Paul Pierce added 21 for the Celtics, who made 21 turnovers that led to 20 New York points.
“We had some just bad turnovers tonight,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “If we had those turnovers in any game, we probably should lose the game and we did. We were making post passes from the other side of the floor. I mean, those are just not good passes.”
Nets rout Bulls
NEW YORK — Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and the Nets turned the Brooklyn blackout into a blowout, beating the Chicago Bulls 106-89 in Game 1 of their East first-round series.
Williams scored 22 points, Lopez had 21 and the Nets wore out the Bulls’ vaunted defense with a spectacular second quarter, when they made 16 of 20 shots.
Joe Johnson finished with 16 points for the Nets, who made their successful first season in Brooklyn even better with a victory in their first playoff appearance since 2007. They will host Game 2 on Monday night.
Team officials distributed black T-shirts to fans before the game in hopes of creating a crowd “blackout,” The New York Times reported.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 112-91 in the first game of their West opening-round series.
Point guard Chris Paul led the way for the Clippers with 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting and seven assists. Eric Bledsoe added 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting.
Jerryd Bayless led Memphis with 19 points in a game where 57 fouls were called.