He got hit in the face, tossed to the ground and elbowed in the low post.
Determined to get the first playoff series win of his career, Andre Miller wasn’t about to be denied.
Miller scored a career playoff-high 28 points, including the game-winning layup with 1.3 seconds left to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 97-95 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series Saturday.
“I have never hit a game-winning shot – never,” the 37-year-old Miller said. “I’ve taken a couple and missed or turned the ball over. That was big for our first playoff game.”
Behind Miller’s 18 fourth-quarter points, the Nuggets extended their dominance at Pepsi Center and grabbed their first series-opening win since 2010.
Denver, 38-3 during the regular season, now has won 24 consecutive home games. Game 2 set for Tuesday night.
“I am always encouraged,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “I believe so much that winning tough games is tough-mindedness. Our personality is young but we believe, we trust, we fight. Would I like to have an easier game? Hell yeah, I would like to have an easier game. But playoff basketball is not about easy games.”
The Warriors led by as many as nine points in the second half but succumbed to Denver’s defensive pressure. They committed 12 second-half turnovers, including a steal and layup by Ty Lawson that gave Denver a 95-92 lead with 35.7 seconds to play.
Golden State tied the game on Stephen Curry’s 3-pointer from the corner with 14.5 remaining, prompting Karl to call a timeout to set up a final play.
“Coach was going through all the plays. We were looking at each other,” Denver forward Corey Brewer said “Andre was hot. We were kind of like, ‘Why don’t we just get out of the way and let Andre have the ball?’ ”
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