The Nuggets fell to 1-1 on their residency Thursday when Manu Ginobili rattled in the go-ahead shot with 4.2 seconds left, then took a game-winning charge on Carmelo Anthony at the other end to give San Antonio a thrilling 113-112 win over Denver.
Ginobili beat a double-team for his bucket, scoring the last of his 16 points with a running bank shot that rattled around the rim before dropping. Anthony subsequently drove hard down the lane at the other end, knocking Ginobili over and hitting what appeared to hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer. But the Nuggets forward was called for the offensive foul, and San Antonio inbounded the ball to run off the final ticks.
“To lose a game on something like that, it’s tough,” said Anthony, who led all scorers with 31 points, the last two coming after an inbounds steal on Denver’s previous possession that gave the Nuggets a brief one-point lead.
The Nuggets were trying to extend their home winning streak to 11 games, but fell short despite overcoming a nine-point deficit with six minutes remaining.
Arron Afflalo scored 20 in support of Anthony, while Nene added 19 points and Ty Lawson had 15 as Denver fell to 11-2 at Pepsi Center. Star point guard Chauncey Billups missed the contest, his second straight, with a partially torn ligament in his right wrist.
Billups is expected to remain on the sidelines tonight but is expected to test the injury at the morning shootaround on Saturday.
Minnesota, meanwhile, continues to struggle on the road, falling to 0-4 on a lengthy six-game trip and a dismal 1-15 overall as the visitor during a 107-102 setback in Portland last night. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in that one for the Blazers, who beat the Wolves for the 13th consecutive time.
Michael Beasley tallied 33 points to lead the Timberwolves, who have lost four in a row overall and 10 straight on the road. Kevin Love registered 19 points and 17 boards, while Martell Webster also had 19 points in defeat. Starting center Darko Milicic injured his ankle on the opening tip and quickly left the game.
“(Aldridge) got seven or eight dunks, and that kills you right there,” Love said. “It builds their momentum more than anything when he gets dunks like that.”
Milicic is a question mark for tonight.
Like most teams Denver has dominated Minnesota recently, winning 12 of 13 in the series.