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Gallinari sharp late as Nuggets edge Warriors in double OT

Associated Press

11/11/2012 2:15:24 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Denver's Danilo Gallinari has struggled to find his shooting rhythm this season. Two big plays against Golden State could be just the thing to get him going.

Gallinari scored on a tying slam dunk late in the first overtime, then scored five of his 21 points in the final 36 seconds of the second as the Nuggets closed with an 11-0 run to beat the Golden State Warriors 107-101 on Saturday night.

"He was starting to get frustrated a little bit because he was missing," Denver coach George Karl said. "I just went up to him and said, 'Gallo, you're good. You're going to get yourself going and you're going to hit it when we really need it.' I didn't expect it to be right then and there, but he did exactly what we needed him to do."

The Nuggets' 6-foot-10 forward was shooting just 27.9 per cent going into the game and missed his first 10 shots against Golden State before finding his stroke in both overtime periods.

Andre Iguodala added a pair of late free throws in the second overtime and the Nuggets, who didn't arrive in the Bay Area until 3:30 a.m. following a late flight from Utah, held on for their fourth consecutive victory after opening the season 0-3.

"We were talking about the mental toughness before the game, because we are (finishing) a back-to-back," said Gallinari, who finished 8 of 22 from the floor. "So the mental part was the most important thing in this game."

Kenneth Faried added 18 points and 17 rebounds, while Iguodala had 19 points for Denver.

Klay Thompson led Golden State with 23 points, but the second-year guard missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Carl Landry added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench, but the Warriors went scoreless over the final 2:47.

"We had the lead a couple times in late-game situations and our inexperience showed," said David Lee, who had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors. "If we even play halfway decent it's not a game to begin with. It's very frustrating."

Denver shot just 38 per cent from the floor and had trouble hanging onto the ball in the second half, but put it together late to pull out the win.

Gallinari made the biggest shot on his dunk with 2.1 seconds left in the first overtime after Golden State, with a foul to give, let Gallinari go free down the lane. Then he came up big again in the second extra period after the Warriors built a 101-96 lead.

Andre Miller made a free throw and Iguodala followed with a 3-pointer. After Landry failed on a layup attempt, Gallinari converted from beyond the arc to give Denver a 103-101 lead. Thompson then missed a 3 for Golden State before Iguodala sank two free throws and Gallinari added two of his own.

The Warriors, who trailed by 11 after the first quarter, couldn't muster another rally and lost for the third time in four games.

"This is the worst I've felt after a game," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "We got outworked tonight. They dominated us on the boards (and) we made critical mistakes down the stretch that are simple basketball plays to make. It's just a bad feeling."

Golden State had a chance to win in the first overtime leading 94-92, but Thompson missed a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left.

Both teams also missed several chances to win in regulation.

The Nuggets led 86-82 late in the fourth quarter, then went scoreless over the final two minutes, while the Warriors missed three shots in the final minute, including a long jumper by Stephen Curry as the buzzer sounded.

The wild finish was in stark contrast to the first half, when Denver appeared on the verge of a blowout.

The Warriors, already without 7-foot centre Andrew Bogut, were even more limited in their front court after sending Jeremy Tyler home because of an illness. That left only rookie Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins to handle the middle against a Nuggets team that went into the night leading the NBA in rebounding, points in the paint and second-chance points.

The results were predictable -- at least early.

Denver dominated inside early, outscoring the Warriors 16-0 in the paint in the first quarter to go along with five blocked shots. Iguodala had 11 points in the period, including an emphatic dunk with 26 seconds left to cap a 10-0 run and give the Nuggets a seemingly comfortable 24-13 lead.

Golden State, coming off a 24-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, chipped away in the second quarter behind Lee and Thompson, then pulled within 40-39 at the half after Richard Jefferson scored on an alley-oop dunk.

The Nuggets maintained their slim lead going into the fourth but couldn't put the Warriors away in regulation.

Miller added 15 points and eight assists for Denver, while Corey Brewer had 11 points.

Notes: This was the first of three games between Denver and Golden State over a 20-day period. After that, the two Western Conference rivals don't play one another again in the regular season. ... The Nuggets play 12 of their next 16 games on the road.