Golden Nuggets: Denver captures playoff berth
Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Andre Miller scored six of his 21 points down
the stretch to help Denver rally for a 97-89 win over Sacramento at the Pepsi
Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points, while Marcus Camby added 12 points, 21
rebounds, seven assists and five blocks for the Nuggets, who tallied their
second straight win and clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference for
the first time since 1995.
“This is unbelievable,” Denver guard Earl Boykins said.
Peja Stojakovic scored 20 points for the Kings, who suffered their third loss
in four games. Chris Webber added 18 points and seven rebounds, as the Kings
failed to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference. Sacramento can still
clinch the Pacific Division title and second seed in the Western Conference
with a win on Wednesday at Golden State.
Nene added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Denver, which became the first team
in NBA history to make the playoffs one year after posting less than 20
victories. Last year the Nuggets tallied only 17 wins.
Miller scored four straight points to put the team ahead 85-81 with less than
six minutes to go.
The Kings pulled within 89-87 on two foul shots by Anthony Peeler with 3:02
But Denver scored eight straight points to pull away. Two foul shots by Rodney
White with 15 seconds left put the team ahead 97-87.
“This basketball team showed a lot of courage,” Nuggets head coach Jeff
Bzdelik said. “Those guys played their hearts out for this city.”
During a tightly contested first quarter, Sacramento took a 20-16 lead on a
dunk by Webber with less than two minutes remaining.
Jon Barry’s three-pointer at the buzzer pulled Denver within 20-19.
Early in the second quarter, a layup by Boykins put the Nuggets ahead 27-22.
Sacramento took a 32-31 advantage on a basket by Brad Miller midway through
Down three with less than four minutes left in the quarter, Denver ended it on
a 15-6 burst. Camby’s basket in the waning seconds gave them a 52-46
Consecutive baskets by Nene just over four minutes into the third quarter put
Denver ahead 60-52.
After a 17-foot jumper by Webber got the Kings within 60-54, Denver went on a
Voshon Lenard hit a three-pointer with 1:01 to play in the third that opened a
76-62 advantage for the Nuggets, who led 78-69 at the end of the quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Sacramento rallied to force a 79-79 tie on a
jumper by Stojakovic.