MIAMI (AP) — Danilo Gallinari scored 29 points, Nikola Jokic and Wilson Chandler each added 19, and the Denver Nuggets topped the Miami Heat 116-113 on Sunday night.
Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 for Denver (36-40), which got back within two games of Portland for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Gallinari hit two straight jumpers late in the fourth to push a one-point Denver lead out to six, and the Nuggets held on at the end to deal Miami’s playoff hopes another blow.
Goran Dragic scored 22 points for the Heat (37-40). Josh Richardson scored 17 and Hassan Whiteside had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Miami.
Miami remained No. 8 in the East. No. 7 Chicago (38-39) won in New Orleans, and No. 9 Indiana (37-40) — which would have passed Miami with a win — lost in double overtime at Cleveland.
Tyler Johnson’s 3-pointer with 10.8 seconds left got Miami within 114-113. Denver needed to burn two time-outs on ensuing inbounds attempts, both times with the Heat arguing to referee Ron Garretson that Jokic traveled while trying to make the pass from the sideline.
On the third try, Jokic got the ball into to Jamal Murray, who made both free throws. Richardson missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
Denver led by 12 in the opening quarter, took a 68-58 lead into the half and was still up by 11 early in the third.
Miami tied the game with a 15-4 run, quickly got back into a six-point hole and finally took its first lead — 94-93 — on a 3-pointer by Richardson with 10:08 left. Another 3 from Richardson about 90 seconds later put Miami back on top, again by only one point.
And that continued a trend from Miami’s loss to New York on Friday. The Heat never led that one by more than a single point, played from behind most of the night, and the same rang true against the Nuggets.
Against the Knicks, the Heat led for only 1:48. On Sunday, they led for only 52 seconds.
Nuggets: Darrell Arthur (left knee), Will Barton (left foot) and Jameer Nelson (right calf) were all sidelined. … Jokic had 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Mudiay added nine assists. … Denver went 16-14 against the East this season. … Roy Hibbert has been on three different rosters for Heat games this season — the Hornets, Bucks and Nuggets.
Heat: Miami is now 0-8 on Sundays. … Rodney McGruder became the eighth player to start 60 games as a rookie for Miami, the first since Mario Chalmers started all 82 in 2008-09. … The Heat D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls finished 29-21, yet didn’t make the playoffs. All 65 previous D-League teams to win at least 58 percent of their games reached the postseason.
With his first rebound Sunday, Whiteside became the first Heat player to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a season. Add in his 150 blocks and 55 percent shooting (his current pace), and Whiteside could join Dwight Howard, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Artis Gilmore as the lone NBA players to have a year with those numbers.
Nuggets forward Mike Miller — a NBA champion with the Heat who greeted plenty of old friends pregame — played his college ball at Florida, and spent parts of his career in both Orlando and Miami. But he’s logged only 58 seconds of playing time in his last six trips back to the Sunshine State, didn’t play on Sunday and last scored in the state on Dec. 26, 2014.
Nuggets: Visit New Orleans on Tuesday, the fourth game on a five-game trip.
Heat: Visit Charlotte on Wednesday, starting a three-game, four-night swing.
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