McGee lifts Nuggets over PistonsMar 22, 2012 - 5:08 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - JaVale McGee's put-back slam in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter helped the Denver Nuggets escape Pepsi Center with a 116-115 decision over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
McGee, who was acquired from the Wizards as part of a three-team trade on Thursday, finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Ty Lawson paced the Nuggets with 25 points and Arron Afflalo added 23 as Denver closed out a season-high, nine-game homestand with a 5-4 record.
Ben Gordon tied his own NBA record for most consecutive three-pointers made in a game without a miss by connecting on 9-of-9 shots from beyond the arc en route to a season-high 45 points in a losing effort for Detroit, which lost its third straight and for the fourth time in five games.
"You can't say enough positive adjectives about the job he did. He was phenomenal," Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank said about Gordon.
It was a 91-91 game entering the fourth quarter after Detroit battled back from a 25-point deficit. Neither team took a lead larger than three points over a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes of the fourth that saw five lead changes and two ties until three-pointers by Gordon and Brandon Knight around a Wilson Chandler layup gave the Pistons a 115-111 advantage with two minutes to play.
After Harrington made the back end of two free throws to bring the Nuggets within three with 59.3 seconds on the clock, the game's next three possessions came up empty.
Coming out of a timeout with 11.2 seconds left, Afflalo was fouled while converting on a spinning, driving layup in the lane.
His potential game-tying free throw rimmed out, but McGee quickly got in front of his man and slammed home the put-back jam with 5.0 seconds showing on the clock.
Gordon had a chance for the game-winner on the other end, but his long two at the buzzer was too strong, sealing the win for the Nuggets.
"I just went hard and pushed [Pistons guard Greg] Monroe under the rim and I was just wide open. I was trying not to goaltend it and I just dunked it. It was definitely exciting -- my first game-winner," said McGee.
Denver dominated the first quarter, shooting 84.2 percent in the frame while holding the Pistons to 37.5 percent from the floor to sprint out to a 40-18 lead at the end of the first.
But Detroit leaned on Gordon and the three-point shot over the next two quarters to storm back.
After an Al Harrington trey early in the second quarter gave the Nuggets their largest lead of the game, 45-20, Gordon drained three shots from beyond the arc and recorded 13 points in a 21-4 run to close the gap to 49-41 with 5:21 left in the half.
However, Lawson's jumper regained the Nuggets' double-digit lead and they were able to keep Detroit at arm's length until the Pistons closed out the half with a 5-2 spurt to make it a 62-57 game at the break.
The Pistons' run then carried into the third quarter, as Gordon's triple capped a 10-2 flurry that gave Detroit its first lead of the contest, 67-66, but Afflalo quickly stopped the run with a jumper to put the Nuggets back on top.
Detroit later reeled off a 6-2 swing to take their largest advantage of the game, 85-79, with three minutes left in the third, but the Nuggets outscored the Pistons by a mark of 12-6 for the remainder of the third to tie the game at 91 entering the fourth quarter.
Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez missed the game with a back injury...Denver improved to 15-12 at home this season, while Detroit fell to 4-19 on the road...The Pistons recorded 26 points off 20 Denver turnovers...Detroit turned the ball over 11 times, resulting in 20 Denver points...The Pistons went 14- for-18 from three-point range in the game.
- DETROIT: 115
Mar 21 11:29 PM
- DETROIT: 91
End of 3rd
Mar 21 10:51 PM
- DETROIT: 18
End of 1st
Mar 21 9:37 PM
- DETROIT: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 21 9:12 PM
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